“Through Our Lady’s maternal intercession, let us ask for the light of the Holy Spirit upon the journey that will lead us to this next stage in our joyful celebration of faith and the love of Christ,” Pope Francis said.
The year of the 29th World Youth Day falls on the same year that the Church celebrates the 1050th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland, which commemorates the beginning of Christianity in the nation.
Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Archbishop of Krakow, released a statement expressing his joy upon hearing of the news of the selection of his Archdiocese to host the next WYD.
“Together with the whole Church in Poland, I rejoice that the Holy Father has accepted the invitation addressed to him by the highest authorities of the Republic of Poland and by the Polish Episcopate,” the Archbishop said.
“In this, he has responded to the desires of so many young people who have long wished to celebrate their faith in the country and the city of Karol Wojtyła, who set off for the Eternal City from Kraków in October 1978, and who, as John Paul II, Bishop of Rome, instituted World Youth Days.”
Blessed John Paul II began the World Youth Days in 1986 in Rome at the diocesan level. The first international World Youth Day was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the diocese where Pope Francis once served as Archbishop, in 1987. Prior to leaving to Rio, Pope Francis approved the sainthood cause for Blessed John Paul II, paving the way for his canonization sometime this year.
Concluding his statement, Cardinal Dziwisz expressed his gratitude to the Holy Father and stated that both Krakow and Poland have their hearts opened wide to receive the pilgrims.
“We express our gratitude to the Holy Father for his decision to visit the country of the Blessed (soon to be Saint) John Paul II, and look forward to keeping vigil with the “morning watchmen” at the festivities in Kraków.”