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Vatican invites youth to celebrate 40th anniversary of World Youth Day

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Credit: Rome Reports

The Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life and the John Paul II Foundation for Youth have organised a series of events to commemorate the 40th anniversary of World Youth Day.

The events will be held over the 13 and 14 April. It will start on Saturday at 6pm with a procession from St Peter’s Square to the International Youth Centre San Lorenzo with the WYD Cross.

Pope John Paul II gave the cross to the young people at that first meeting in 1984 and it has been present at every WYD since.

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There will be a vigil of prayer and adoration of the cross after the procession, followed by Mass.

In 1984, Pope John Paul II scheduled a gathering of young people for Palm Sunday.

The Vatican expected the arrival of 60,000 people. On that day, 250,000 people attended the meeting in St Peter’s Square.

The event sparked a desire in the pope: to organise an annual gathering for young Catholics. This proposal became World Youth Day.

In 2023, more than one million people from 150 countries participated in World Youth Day in Portugal.

“World Youth Day is a phenomenon that Pope John Paul II pioneered. It is very interesting to see the connection between someone older like the Pope and young people” said Cardinal Joao Braz De Aviz.

Many credited Pope John Paul II with inventing World Youth Day. But whenever asked about it he would always reply, “It was the young people who created it.”

As of right now, Pope Francis is not expected to be present.

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