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2016 World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland.

Dear young friends, we have an appointment for the next World Youth Day in 2016 in Krakow, Poland.” - proclaimed the Holy Father Francis concluding the 2013 WYD in Rio de Janeiro. The news, most eagerly anticipated in Krakow, made the city ecstatic and occasioned general rejoicing throughout Poland.

On November 7th, 2013 the Holy See announced the motto of the 2016 World Youth Day in Krakow to be "Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy", one of the eight beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount. 

pilgrim guide to Krakow Krakow pilgrimage guide

Arrangements for the World Youth Day in Krakow.

Polish authorities, the local government, and primarily the Catholic church in Krakow have immediately begun planning and preparations for the 2016 WYD. Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the archbishop of Krakow, has committed himself to the event and made it his priority in coming years.

Krakow's Lagiewniki's Basilica of Divine Mercy

Krakow's Lagiewniki's Basilica of Divine Mercy

Krakow's World Youth Days in 2016 are scheduled for July 26th through July 31st. Pope Francis is expected to arrive to Krakow on Wednesday, July 27th, 2016. There are plans for four mass-audience events with the Holy Father. The young will welcome Pope Francis in the afternoon on Thursday, July 28th on the Krakow Blonia common, a five minute's walk west from the Old Town historic center. The Way of the Cross will take place on Friday, July 29th at 5:30 p.m. A prayer vigil will go on on Saturday, July 30th, starting at 7:30 p.m. Finally, Pope Francis will celebrate an open-air Holy Mass on Sunday, July 31st. The last two events are to take place in Brzegi area of Wieliczka, just outside the Krakow city limits.

The 2016 World Youth Day in Krakow is to be second such event organized in Poland. The previous one took place in Czestochowa in 1991 and gathered 1.5 million participants from all over the world. The organizers expected that even a greater number of young people would descend on Krakow in 2016 to meet the Holy Father here and pray with him. However till July 22nd, 2016 just 356,294 pilgrims, representing 187 nations, signed up for the WYD in Krakow, even though the number of unregistered participants usually exceeds the registered ones by far.  

The organizers have already sign up all students dormitories in the city for the WYD participants. But most of them will need to find other lodgings themselves so it seems crucial to book a hostel in Krakow as early as possible.

Although the vast Blonia common in downtown Krakow seems an ideal venue for an open-air Papal Mass, Cardinal Dziwisz decided it isn't big enough to accommodate the millions he expects. So he has chosen Wieliczka's Brzegi wasteland adjoining the southeastern outskirts of Krakow as the place of the key events of the 2016 World Youth Day.

Program of Pope Francis' visit to Krakow

Heading for WYD in Krakow.

Travel to Krakow is easy as the city is situated at Europe’s major road and railway junctions and the Krakow airport is Poland’s second busiest. And till the mid 2016 the modernization of approach roads to Krakow, the overhaul of the railway transport system in southern Poland, and expansion of the Balice airport - now all concurrently under way for some time – should be completed, more or less.

Anticipating public transport problems, the Krakow city council introduced an unlimited travel pass for municipal trams and buses, valid from July 26th through July 31. Everybody can buy it for just 15 zlotys (PLN) from ticket machines at tram stops as well as at newsstands, etc.

The Lord's Mercy icon of Lagiewniki

The Lord's Mercy icon remains
in the heart of  the Sanctuary
of Divine Mercy in Krakow,

Krakow, the stronghold of Christian faith.

For centuries dubbed “Rome of the North”, today Krakow remains an important center of Catholicism. The principal metropolis of the southern Poland is also the seat of the Krakow archdiocese. The city boasts numerous churches, historic and modern, as well as many monasteries, convents, Catholic educational institutions including The Pontifical University of John Paul II, and plethora of other organizations from charities to prayer associations.

Every year Krakow attracts numerous pilgrims. Most of them head for the modern Sanctuary of Divine Mercy, which is the hub of a worldwide Divine Mercy movement. It adjoins the rapidly developing John Paul II Center, important for the World Youth Days since the late Pope launched that series of events in 1984 and gave it the momentum. At the same time the Skalka Sanctuary has been one of Poland’s holiest sites since the martyrdom of St. Stanislaw in 1079.

Note: the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy is open to pilgrims 24/7 during the World Youth Day.

Krakow: altar with the relic of the blood of Pope John II

John Paul II Center: the altar with the relic of John Paul II's blood in a glass case.


In the footsteps of Pope John Paul II 

Sanctuary of Divine Mercy

John Paul II Center

Churches in Krakow

Skalka Sanctuary
Poland’s second holiest shrine at the site of St. Stanislav’s 1079 martyrdom. Splendid Baroque church and fine monastery modeled on a Renaissance castle.

Tyniec Abbey
Hilltop monastery-fortress dates from the 11th c.

Bielany Monastery
Magnificent 17th-century Baroque hermitage complex atop the Silver Mountain hovers over Krakow.

St. Norbert's Convent
Vast fortified complex on the Vistula river is home to Krakow’s once powerful Premonstratensian Sisters since the 12th c.


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