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World Youth Day in Krakow

Thursday, June 23, 2016 - Friday, August 5, 2016

Krakow hosts World Youth Day

From July 26-31, pilgrims from around the world will meet in Kraków to celebrate together under the banner "Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy." World Youth Day will end with Holy Mass in Brzegi, near Kraków, celebrated by Pope Francis.

World Youth Day began with the Days in Dioceses, which took place all over Poland. Since July 20, pilgrims have been staying with Polish families, learning about the history, traditions and culture of Poland. On July 26 they will travel to Kraków, where they will participate in an audience with the Holy Father.

Pope Francis will arrive in Kraków on July 27. On this day a welcoming ceremony will be held in Wawel Cathedral, attended by the President of Poland Andrzej Duda. The following day, the Pope will celebrate Holy Mass in the Jasna Góra Monastery in Czestochowa to mark the 1050th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland. On Friday, July 29, he will travel to Oswiecim, where he will pray at the site of the former Nazi German concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. On Saturday, July 30, a Liturgy of Reconciliation will be held at the Divine Mercy Sanctuary in Lagiewniki, with the young peoples participation. That evening, the Holy Father will go to Brzegi for Campus Misericordiae ("Field of Mercy"), where a vigil with young people will take place at 7.30 p.m. On Sunday, Pope Francis will celebrate his Final Mass at the end of the audience with the young people. On that day, the Holy Father will also announce the location and year of the next World Youth Day.

Pope Francis acknowledged in his message that World Youth Day is a joyful occasion "to meet the beloved Polish nation." The audience 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.

World Youth Day and 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 country, with preparations coordinated across many institutions. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been involved in the organization of WYD from the very beginning. It has collaborated on WYD with other European countries, and in May, the Ministry opened temporary visa points for those attending World Youth Day in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, in Manila in the Philippines and Quito in Ecuador. This allowed WYD attendees to apply for a visa in 40 countries where Poland does not have its own consular offices. The E-Consulate was also another way of easing pilgrims' travel to Poland.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs website includes special tabs dedicated to World Youth Day in both Polish and in English. The tabs were created as part of an informational campaign conducted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Office in 79 countries around the world. The website includes the most important information on registration and participation in WYD, the necessary consular issues, as well as the Ministry's latest publications on WYD. Attendees may also view interactive infographics which advise what documents are required to participate.

For World Youth Day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Institute of National Remembrance and the Polish League Against Defamation prepared two publications: a guide for pilgrims and a handbook for those hosting them in their homes. The first, 1,050 years. A guide to the history of Poland 966-2016, published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Polish League Against Defamation in half a million copies, is a compendium of knowledge on 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: "Ambassador of Polishness," published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Polish League Against Defamation in 250,000 copies, is a handbook on promoting Poland for hosts receiving pilgrims.

Poland is hosting the WYD for the second time. It previously hosted young people in August 1991 in Czestochowa. World Youth Day was the initiative of the Polish Pope, St. John Paul II. Officially, December 20, 1985 is considered the founding date of these youth gatherings, as it was on that day during a public audience that John Paul II expressed his desire for World Youth Day to be held regularly every year on Palm Sunday as a diocesan gathering, and every two to three years at a location chosen by him as an international gathering. The first international edition of WYD was organized in the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires.

Learn more on and

Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has prepared a special interactive infographic that will guide you to World Youth Day in Krakow. Click here to view it.

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Pope Francis thanks Poland for its hospitality

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