World Youth Day Fast Facts

Posted at 11:02 AM, Jul 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-17 13:02:03-04

Here’s some background information about World Youth Day, a day when Catholic youth and young adults between the ages of 16 and 35 gather to celebrate their faith.

January 22-27, 2019 – World Youth Day takes place in Panama City, Panama.

World Youth Day was created by Pope John Paul II after large turnouts at the 1984 Jubilee of Young People and the 1985 gathering for the International Year of Youth in Rome.

It is celebrated every two to three years with a large international gathering, and on off years, there is a smaller celebration in Rome.

Attendees spend time visiting the host country, performing community service, visiting dioceses, and participating in festival events.

Papal Mass is held on the closing Sunday of the event.

Past World Youth Festivals:
1986 – Rome, Italy

1987 – Buenos Aries, Argentina

1989 – Santiago de Compostela, Spain

1991 – Czestochowa, Poland

1993 – Denver, Colorado

January 14-16, 1995
Manila, Philippines
450,000 attendees
Up to five million attend mass.
Pope had to use a helicopter to get to the stage.

August 21-24, 1997
Paris, France
Over 500,000 attendees.
Over one million attend mass at Longchamps Race Track.
Pope at mass: “There is more to life than films and pop music.”

August 15-20, 2000
Rome, Italy
Over two million attendees.
Dubbed the “Catholic Woodstock”
Featured concerts and prayer services.
300 portable confessionals were set up around the Colosseum and Circus Maximus arena.
2000 priests were on hand to hear confessions in over 30 languages.

July 23-28, 2002
Toronto, Canada
800,000 attend mass presided by the Pope.

August 16-21, 2005
Cologne, Germany
400,000 attendees

July 15-20, 2008
Sydney, Australia. Pope Benedict XVI makes his first trip to Australia to deliver the final Mass at the gathering.
500,000 attendees

August 16-21, 2011
Madrid, Spain
1,400,000-2,000,000 attendees.
Spain is the first country besides Italy to host WYD for a second time.

July 23-28, 2013
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Three million attend the final mass.

July 25-31, 2016
Krakow, Poland
2.5 to three million attend the final mass.