"I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word" (LK 1:38)

World Youth Day (WYD) is a Catholic event for youth celebrated on Palm Sunday each year at the diocesan level, and every few years at an international location. It was founded by St John Paul II in 1984, and has since spanned generations of pilgrims.

World Youth Day is more than just a meeting drawing thousands or even millions of young people. WYD is a testimony of a living Church that is continually being renewed. Youth are the protagonists of this meeting of faith, hope and unity. The main goal of WYD is to let youth know about the message of Jesus Christ, in the context of a joyful meeting of the Pope, young people and leaders of the Church. It is also true that through young people of faith the young ‘face’ of Jesus is shown to the world.

Friends at World Youth Day with flags flying in the background
World Youth Day Pilgrim on the beach
Large crowd of pilgrims gathering at World Youth Day
The History of World Youth Day
  Year Location Attendance Theme
Past World Youth Day logos 1987 Buenos Aires, Argentina 1,000,000 We ourselves have known and put our faith in God’s love towards ourselves. Jn 4:16
Past World Youth Day logos 1989 Santiago de Compostela, Spain 400,000 1989 Santiago de Compostela, Spain 400,000 I am the way, the truth, and the life. Jn 14:6
Past World Youth Day logos 1991 Czestochowa, Poland 1,600,000 You have received a spirit of sonship. Romans 8:15
Past World Youth Day logos 1993 Denver, USA 500,000 I came that they might have life, and have it to the full. Jn 10:10
Past World Youth Day logos 1995 Manila, Philippines 5,000,000 As the Father sent me, so am I sending you. Jn 20:21
Past World Youth Day logos 1997 Paris, France 1,200,000 Teacher, where are you staying? Come and see. Jn 1:38-39
Past World Youth Day logos 2000 Rome, Italy 2,000,000 Jubilee – The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Jn 1:14
Past World Youth Day logos 2002 Toronto, Canada 800,000 You are the salt of the earth; You are the light of the world. Mt 5:13-14
Past World Youth Day logos 2005 Cologne, Germany 1,200,000 We have come to worship him. Mt 2:2
Past World Youth Day logos 2008 Sydney, Australia 500,000 You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses. Acts 1:8
Past World Youth Day logos 2011 Madrid, Spain 2,200,000 Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, Firm in the Faith. Col 2:
Past World Youth Day logos 2013 Rio de Janeiro 3,600,000 Go and Make Disciples of All Nations. Mt 28:19
Past World Youth Day logos 2016 Krakow, Poland 2,400,000 Blessed are the merciful; for they shall receive mercy. Mt 5.7

Learn more about World Youth Day in Panama