Friday 22 July 2016
From 26 to 31 July pilgrims from around the world will meet in Krakow to celebrate together under the banner “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” The World Youth Day will end with Holy Mass in Brzegi near Krakow, celebrated by Pope Francis.
The World Youth Day began with the Days in the Dioceses which took place all over Poland. From 20 July, pilgrims have been guests at Polish families, learning the history, tradition and culture of Poland. On 26 July they will travel to Krakow where they will participate in the meeting with the Holy Father.
Pope Francis will arrive in Krakow on 27 July. On this day a welcoming ceremony attended by the President of Poland Andrzej Duda will be held in the Wawel Cathedral. A day later, the Pope will celebrate Holy Mass in the Jasna Góra Monastery in Częstochowa on the occasion of the 1050th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland. On Friday, July 29, he will go to Oświęcim, where he will pray at the former Nazi German concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. On Saturday, July 30, Liturgy of Reconciliation with the participation of youth will take place in the Divine Mercy Sanctuary in Łagiewniki. In the evening, the Holy Father will go to Brzegi for Campus Misericordiae, where vigil with young people will start at 7.30 p.m. On Sunday, Pope Francis will celebrate Final Mass at the end of the meeting of the young. On that day, the Holy Father will also announce the place and year of the next World Youth Day.
Pope Francis admitted in the message he gave that the World Youth Day is a joyful occasion “to meet the beloved Polish nation.” The meeting with young people from around the world will take place “under the sign of mercy in this Jubilee Year and in grateful and devoted memory of St. John Paul II, who was the architect of the World Youth Day and the guide of the Polish nation on its recent historic journey to freedom,” the Holy Father said.
The World Youth Day, the arrival of thousands of pilgrims and the Holy Father to Poland is not only a very important spiritual event, but also a great challenge for the host, which is being prepared by many institutions at the same time. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been involved in the organisation of the WYD from the very beginning. In connection with the WYD it cooperated with European countries, and in May, the MFA opened temporary visa points for participants of the World Youth Day in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, in Manila in the Philippines and in the capital of Ecuador, Quito. Thanks to this participants of the WYD could apply for a visa in 40 countries in which Poland does not have its own consular offices. Another facilitation for the pilgrims applying for a visa was the e-consulate (https://secure.e-konsulat.gov.pl/).
The website of the MFA both in Polish and in English includes special tabs dedicated to the World Youth Day. The tabs were created as part of an informational campaign conducted by the MFA Press Office in 79 countries around the world. The website msz.gov.pl includes the most important information relating to the registration and participation in the event, the necessary consular issues, as well as the latest publications of the Ministry related to the WYD. The participants may also learn the interactive infographics which advise what documents are required to participate in the WYD.
On the occasion of the World Youth Day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the Institute of National Remembrance and Reduta Dobrego Imienia prepared two publications – a guide for pilgrims and a handbook for those hosting them in their homes. The first one – “1050 years. A guide to the history of Poland 966-2016,” published by the MFA and the INR in half a million copies – is a compendium of knowledge about the history of Poland for foreign pilgrims. The publication is available in nine languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Ukrainian and Italian. The second one – “Ambassador of Polishness,” published by the MFA and Reduta Dobrego Imienia in 250 thousand copies – is a handbook on the promotion of Poland for hosts receiving the pilgrims.
Poland is hosting the WYD for the second time – previously is hosted the young in August 1991 in Częstochowa. The initiator of the World Youth Day was Polish Pope, St. John Paul II. Officially, 20 December 1985 is considered the day of the establishment of meetings of youth, as it was then that John Paul II expressed his desire during the meeting of sharing wafers that the World Youth Day be held regularly every year on Palm Sunday as a diocesan meeting, and every two or three years at a location chosen by him as an international meeting. The first international edition of the WYD was organised in the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires.