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"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy"
(Matthew 5:7)


WYDUSA: The United States
Pilgrimage to World Youth Day 


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WYDUSA News & Updates




Upon his return from World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in 2013, Pope Francis said, "We must never forget that World Youth Days are not 'firework displays,' flashes of enthusiasm that are an end in themselves; rather, they are stages of a long journey, begun in 1985, at the initiative of Pope John Paul II." (Angelus message in St. Peter's Square, August 4, 2013).

With that in mind, the USCCB endeavors to update the Church in the United States on the "long journey" that continues – for young people, their leaders, and "alumni" of past encounters – in the everyday experiences of faith, all of which point toward Christ and the Gospel.Seen from this perspective, then, the international World Youth Days are moments where pilgrims gather together in one place every three years to share those lived experiences, learn from one another, renew their commitment to Christ and the Church, and hear from their shepherd, the Holy Father, so that they might be inspired to continue the journey and change the world.

This summer, in preparation for the next international WYD encounter in Poland in 2016, we begin a two-year "Countdown to Krakow" (the days, hours, and minutes are already counting down at While two years may seem a long way to go, the wait reminds us that the best things in life are rarely rushed – and often best experienced with good discernment, time, and anticipation.


These updates serve to share details that impact the logistical elements of the WYD journey in the United States. For the latest information, go to or follow "WYDUSA" on Twitter.

Krakow Updates

The official WYD website is site is maintained by the Kraków local organizing committee and includes several language portals, including English and Spanish.Please consult this website (as well as their accompanying Facebook and Twitter feeds at and, respectively) for the most accurate and updated news about WYD planning.

In April 2014, WYD organizers from Kraków shared some details about the preliminary plans for World Youth Day in 2016. Please note that these are early plans and are subject to change:

  • World Youth Day will take place in Kraków, Poland, from Tuesday, July 26, to Sunday, July 31, 2016. The schedule of central events at WYD 2016 will follow the traditional pattern as previous World Youth Days:
    • Tuesday, July 26:Opening Mass with Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, Archbishop of Kraków
    • Thursday, July 28:Welcome Ceremony for the Holy Father, Pope Francis
    • Friday, July 29:Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) with Pope Francis
    • Saturday, July 30:Evening Vigil with Pope Francis
    • Sunday, July 31:Concluding Mass with Pope Francis
  • Preceding the central WYD activities, "Days in the Dioceses" will take place in 44 dioceses around the entire country of Poland from Wednesday, July 20, to Monday, July 25, 2016.
  • During the "Days in the Dioceses," Poland will be known as Campus Misericordiae ("Camp Mercy").
  • Pilgrims with simple accommodations are expected to be lodged nearby their catechetical site in parishes, schools, dorms, gyms, or tents at varying distances from Kraków city center (NOTE: the sooner the group registers, the closer they will be to the city).
  • Catechesis with a bishop will take place for three consecutive days (Wed. to Fri., July 27-29):
    • For two of these days, pilgrims will attend a catechesis session at their nearest catechetical site (in their preferred language at one of 300 venues around the city)
    • On one of these days, pilgrims will be given the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to the Divine Mercy Sanctuary in Kraków (NOTE:different days and times for the Divine Mercy pilgrimage will be assigned for each group during their registration process).
  • The meal plan will be a mixed system:some meals will be distributed at housing and catechetical sites; others will be available at local restaurants with a meal card; pilgrim food packets for the final vigil and mass will be distributed by a catering company on Saturday, July 30.
  • Transportation will be included in the registration costs for trams, buses, and trains around Kraków.
  • The location of the WYD central events will be Błonia Park, a large meadow adjacent and directly west of Kraków's historic city center.This park has hosted large open-air Masses celebrated by Pope John Paul II in 1979, 1983, 1987, 1997, and 2002 and by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006.
  • The final Vigil and Mass is expected to be held in Błonia Park; however, this is not yet confirmed.
  • The WYD organizing team is seeking 30,000 Polish volunteers and 6,000 international volunteers (in both long and short-term capacities); if anyone is interested, they can email
  • Registration for WYD is expected to begin in July 2015. Exact details on the specifics of the registration process, system, and payment plans have yet to be released.

The organizers hope that 2016 will be an opportunity for pilgrims to discover the origins of World Youth Day, as Kraków was the place where Karol Wojtiła was formed, inspired, and called to serve Christ and the Church as a young person himself.As Cardinal Dziwisz said to the WYD delegates and organizers from around the world who gathered in Rome this spring, "To truly know a poet, one must visit that poet's homeland.To truly know St. John Paul II and World Youth Day, one must come to Kraków."

wyd 2016 Logo and Prayer

In July 2014, Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz and leaders from the WYD local organizing committee released the official World Youth Day logo and prayer which accompanies the WYD 2016 theme of "Blessed are the Merciful, for They Shall Obtain Mercy" (Mt. 5:7).The logo was designed by 28-year-old graphic designer Monika Rybczyńska from Ostrzeszów, Poland, who was inspired by the canonization of St. John Paul II earlier this year and in developed it in thanksgiving for the saint's impact on her professional career.In the final stages of the logo's design, Monika was also assisted by Emilia Pyza, a 26-year-old graphic designer from Garwolin, near Warsaw, Poland.

The logo features the outline of Poland with a marker that signifies the location of Kraków as well as the face of the young people who will gather there for World Youth Day in 2016. The city and the pilgrims are situated at the foot of Christ and the Cross, from which flow the red and blue rays of Divine Mercy. The colors of the logo (red, blue, and yellow) are the official colors of the city of Kraków.


The terms of use for the logo can be found online at

The official WYD prayer was also released in early July – which asks God for divine protection for all people, especially in the preparation for the pilgrimage to Kraków, as well as the grace that we might be more merciful and compassionate to the discouraged, doubting, indifferent, and unhappy people in our world.

The prayer in English can be found on the main page of the official WYDUSA website,

USA Presence in Kraków

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will be organizing a special event in Kraków during the World Youth Day week for WYD pilgrims from the United States of America.Exact details (of when and where this event will take place and what will be happening) are being finalized this summer.

The USCCB will also have an on-site concierge service in Kraków, where pilgrim leaders can check-in during their time in Krakow for information, concerns, and questions.More details on this will be forthcoming.

Stateside World Youth Days

Not everyone is able to travel to Kraków for World Youth Day.For this reason, we highly encourage local parishes and/or dioceses to consider hosting "stateside" World Youth Day activities in late July 2016 for those youth and young adults who are unable to attend WYD in Poland, as well as friends and families of international pilgrims.

In this way, all young people will be united as WYDUSA pilgrims: this includes those who will be present in Kraków with the Holy Father as well as those participating in their local area and via social media.

Preparation and Group Leader Assistance

In advance of World Youth Day in Kraków, the United States' World Youth Day Office (WYDUSA) will be working on developing preparation and promotional resources in the coming months to assist dioceses and group leaders. 

If you have any concerns or questions about WYD, contact the WYDUSA Office, coordinated by staff at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in Washington, D.C., at 202-541-3044 or email; and continue to check back in for updates via the WYDUSA website, or Twitter at

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