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World Youth Day in Krakow
Let me – before I leave... look once more at Krakow, at the Krakow where every stone and every brick is dear to me, and I will look from here at Poland...
--John Paul II, Błonia Park in Krakow, 10 June 1979
In 2016, World Youth Day comes to Krakow, the city which was home to St John Paul II for over four decades. Before becoming Pope, Karol Wojtilya spent his formative years as a student, young priest, university professor and bishop in the historic city and surrounding districts of Krakow.
Krakow is looking forward to sharing its culture, art and history with you in 2016. During World Youth Day week, Victorian pilgrims will have the opportunity to explore the sites which shaped Pope John Paul’s spiritual life and reveal Poland’s tumultuous history from its medieval past to the oppression of the twentieth century.
Ultimately, Krakow is testament to the faithfulness of its people. From Krakow emerged the message of Divine Mercy which defined Pope John Paul II’s papacy. At World Youth Day 2016, pilgrims are invited to encounter this message of hope.
The Message of Divine Mercy has always been near and dear to me. It is as if history had inscribed it in the tragic experience of the Second World War. In those difficult years it was a particular support and an inexhaustible source of hope, not only for the people of Krakow but for the entire nation
--John Paul II, Shrine of Divine Mercy, Krakow, 7 June 1997
St John Paul II’s beloved Carpathian mountain range forms the backdrop of the World Youth Day pilgrimage to Krakow.
St John Paul II
The founder of World Youth Day, St John Paul II, was a true son of Krakow. The city was his home for over four decades, and the faith of its people echoes his tremendous heart.
St Mary’s Basilica
St Mary’s Basilica sits in Krakow square, one of the largest and liveliest town squares in the world. The square will be the centre of many World Youth Day festivities.
Our Lady of Czestochowa
For centuries, Polish people have prayed for the intercession of Our Lady to protect Poland. Our Lady of Czestochowa is a revered icon of Mary which was frequently visited by St John Paul II, and will be a place of pilgrimage for many Victorian pilgrims.
Pope Francis invites you to join him! This man of deep joy and compassion invites all young people to come and encounter Christ at World Youth Day Krakow 2016.