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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. 

Visit of the World Youth Day Cross and Icon

The visit of the World Youth Day Cross and Icon is the perfect opportunity to gather with other World Youth Day Alumni. From August 19-27, 2018 the cross and icon will travel across the country and make stops in Chicago, Miami, Houston, Washington DC, and Los Angeles. More details can be found on the official page for the Visit of the Cross and Icon.


August 20
6:00am - Mass at Holy Name Cathedral
Symbols will be on display beginning with this Mass and until the Cathedral closes.

12:10pm - Mass at Holy Name Cathedral

12:30pm - 5:15pm - Food with music in Holy Name Courtyard

3:00pm - 5:00pm - Confessions at Holy Name Cathedral

5:15pm - Mass at Holy Name Cathedral with veneration service for participants. 
Celebrated by Bishop Caggiano 

7:00pm - Prayer Service with Bishop Caggiano at Holy Name Cathedral

8:15pm - Post Prayer Service Social

August 21
11:00am - 2:00pm - Display at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Elmhurst, Illinois, Diocese of Joliet


August 22
8:00am - Pilgrimage to the Peripheries 
Mass and Visit with the Homeless, Immigrants and Poor, Missionaries of Charity Shelter

1:00pm - Encounter with Youth 
Youth Rally, Monsignor Pace High School 

5:30pm - Mass for Vocations with Seminarians & Religious, St. John Vianney Regional Seminary
Celebrated by Abp. Jose Domingo Ulloa Mendieta, OSA, Archbishop of Panama

7:00pm - Vigil with the Young People, Front Lawn of St. John Vianney Regional Seminary
Prayer for the Synod and WYD, Vigil and Concert


August 23
6:00pm - 9:30pm - Night of Worship, Reflection, and Multicultural Celebration with Bishop Sheltz
Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart

August 24
8:00am - 9:30am - Veneration of the Cross and Icon
University of St. Thomas, Chapel of St. Basil (1018 W. Alabama St., Houston, TX 77006)


August 25
9:00am - Procession of the WYD Cross and Icon
National Mall, Procession begins at the Lincoln Memorial, and includes stops at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Washington Monument, and Smithsonian Castle

12:15pm - Liturgical and Cultural Activities at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine
Veneration and Confession available, adoration led by Steve Angrisano 

3:30pm - Keynote Address by Sr. Miriam James Heidland, SOLT

4:30pm - Procession of the WYD Cross and Icon to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

5:15pm - Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception


August 26
3:30pm - Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles
Following Mass, the Cross and Icon will be available for viewing and veneration.


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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