What is it
World Youth Day (WYD) is the gathering of young people from all over the world with the Pope. It is also a pilgrimage, a celebration of youth, an expression of the universal Church and an intense moment of evangelization for the youth world. Although its Catholic identity is clearly evident, WYD opens its doors to everyone, no matter how close to or distant from the Church they are.
It is celebrated at the diocesan level on Palm Sunday, and every two, three or four years as an international gathering in a city chosen by the Pope, with the presence of the Holy Father. It brings together millions of young people to celebrate their faith and sense of belonging to the Church.
Since its first edition in Rome in 1986, World Youth Day has proven to be a laboratory of faith, a place of birth for vocations to marriage and consecrated life, and an instrument for the evangelization and transformation of the Church.
It aims to provide all participants with a universal Church experience, fostering a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. It is a new stimulus to the faith, hope and charity of the entire host country community. With young people as its protagonists, World Youth Day also seeks to promote peace, unity and fraternity among peoples and nations around the world.
Over the course of a week, young people from all over the world are welcomed, mainly in public (gymnasiums, schools, pavilions …) and parish facilities or family homes. In addition to the moments of prayer, sharing and leisure, the young people enrolled in this celebration participate in various initiatives organized by the WYD team, in different locations across the host city. The highlights are the celebrations (central features) for which the Pope is present, such as the welcoming and opening ceremony, the Way of the Cross, the vigil and, on the last day, the closing mass.
Days in the dioceses
“Days in the dioceses” is a gathering that precedes the week of WYD and involves integrating the young people from all over the world in the parish communities, in the various dioceses of the country and, in some cases, in the dioceses of neighbouring countries. During these days, the participants can get to know the host region better, as well as the local Church and its features, and as is also the case in WYD week, they stay in public or parish facilities or family homes. The pre-WYD for WYD Lisbon 2023 will take place from north to south of Portugal, including the islands.