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WYD Alumni Network

Pilgrims attend the Way of the Cross at World Youth Day in Blonia Park in Krakow, Poland, July 29. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Introduction to the WYD Alumni Network

World Youth Day is an experience which has impacted the lives of millions of people around the world since it began in 1984.  In the United States, over a half-million (500,000+) men and women have participated in an international World Youth Day gathering over that period of time, and even more than that have been affected in some way by World Youth Day, such as celebrating it stateside or participating in it through television or digital media.

Word Youth Day resource icon

Because the World Youth Day experience is so memorable and has been impactful for many men and women, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)' Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth has developed the WYDUSA Alumni Network to connect those who have had this profound encounter with Christ and the Church to one another. 

All World Youth Day alumni have a common bond of a pilgrim experience in which they encountered Jesus Christ within the family of the universal Church and the Holy Father. Use the resources on this page to connect with other WYD Alumni in your area.

Hosting a WYDUSA Alumni Celebration

Any WYDUSA alumni can host an alumni celebration. The WYDUSA office has developed a comprehensive guide to help alumni put on different events to bring those who have the shared experience of being WYD pilgrims together. Use our Local World Youth Day Alumni Gathering Guide as a resource in planning an event that all alumni can enjoy. 

Upcoming WYDUSA Alumni Celebrations

Young people attending World Youth Day perform a spontaneous cheer in Krakow, Poland, July 28. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)Are you interested in hosting an Alumni event? Use our Alumni Guide for ideas and resources on how to host a WYD Alumni event! 

St. John Paul II National Shrine Alumni Events

The first event will be on October 22, 2016.  This will be a World Youth Day Reunion and JPII Feast Day event.  Also, there will be a statue unveiling on the East Plaza, overlooking the main lawn.  

Saint John Paul II National Shrine
3900 Harewood Rd NE
Washington, DC 20017

The current schedule for this event follows:

Pre-Reunion Events

10AM – JPII Shrine opens – Exhibits and Chapels Open
11AM – Confessions
11:30AM – Rosary
12:00PM – JPII Shrine's daily Mass – Solemnity of Saint John Paul II

WYD Reunion Events and JPII Feast Day Events

Outside Events
1:00PM – World Youth Day Reunion events begin with picnic on the front lawn.  – We plan to have DC food trucks on site for pilgrims throughout the afternoon and in the evening following Mass.
1:00PM-4:00PM – Vocations Fair on West Plaza
1:00-4:00PM – Concert and Keynote Talks on the East Plaza
4:30PM – New Statue Unveiling
5:00PM – Dramatic re-reading of JPII Homily
5:15PM – Outdoor Feast Day Mass on East Plaza
6:30-8:00PM – Dessert and Celebration with Kremowka and Polish Dancing

Inside Events
1:00PM-4:00PM – Adoration inside the Redemptor Hominis Church
1:00PM-4:00PM – Veneration of Relics of Saint John Paul II inside Luminous Mysteries Chapel
10:00AM-5:00PM – 30 Minute World Youth Day Reunion Video + Screening of new 50 minute "Face of Mercy" documentary – Films playing all day on loop in Auditorium
10:00AM-5:00PM – World Youth Day Reunion Kiosk

Exhibits Open Throughout the Day

A Gift of Love – Saint John Paul II Exhibit – Lower Level
God's Servant First – Thomas More Exhibit – 2nd Floor
Local Catholic Artists – Original Artwork Displays – 2nd Floor

More Information

Check out the official website of the St. John Paul II Shrine's Alumni Events here.
Sign up to receive updates and registration information here.

Hosting an Alumni event? Let us know and we will post details about your event here! Contact the WYDUSA office 202-541-3044 or

Register for the WYDUSA Alumni Networkworld-youth-day-sydney-cns-home

Register to be part of the National WYDUSA Alumni Network.World Youth Day is not the destination, but one point along the pilgrimage of life. As a WYD alumni, you are still on that journey. Connect with other U.S. citizens who have participated in a World Youth Day event, either stateside or internationally, at least once in the past thirty years since these gatherings began in 1984. Over one-half million people in the USA have been to a World Youth Day event-are you one of them? If so, connect with the national alumni network today!

World Youth Day Chronology Guide: 1984- Present

Pope John Paul II visits an exhibit about Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. Photo: © Associazione Pier Giorgio Frassati, Rome. Used with permission.

World Youth Day is a global celebration of faith for Catholic youth and young adults, held every year since its inception during the Jubilee of Redemption (1983 to 1984), when St. John Paul II called for an international meeting of young people on Palm Sunday 1984 in Rome and handed over the Jubilee cross (now known as the "World Youth Day Cross") to young adult Catholics around the world.

As the development of this pilgrimage took place, a trend began with the international gatherings being held in a different host country every two to three years, with local celebrations of youth and young adults (in Rome and around the world) taking place in the intervening years.

You can learn more about past World Youth Day gatherings with our new Chronology Guide. Also, check out all the messages from the Popes for World Youth Day pilgrims.

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