World Youth Day (WYD) is a gathering of young people from all over the world with the Pope. It is a meeting to build and strengthen the bonds of faith, friendship and hope, symbolizing the union between people of different cultures and countries. WYD is a testimony of a living Church that is continually being renewed.The main goal of WYD is to inspire young people with Christ’s message.
It all started in 1984, by Pope John Paul II. The International Meeting of Youth, during the Holy Year of Redemption, took place in St Peter’s Square, at the Vatican.
It was there that the Pope gave the youth the cross which became one of the symbols of WYD – known as the Pilgrim Cross, or WYD Cross; it is with the youth at every WYD.
Since the youth received the Cross from our Great Pope John Paul II, it has been carried around by young people in a pilgrimage throughout the world, visiting various countries and parts of our globe. But the Cross doesn’t travel alone. In 2003, John Paul II entrusted the youth with an icon of Our Lady, Salus Populi Romani. Since then, the Cross and the Icon have travelled together.