At the conclusion of their Summer General Meeting, Bishops asked for prayers for World Youth Day which will take place in Krakow, Poland, during 26-30 July. The theme for WYD 2016 is “Blessed are the Merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Mt 5:7). World Youth Day will provide the backdrop for Pope Francis’ first pilgrimage to Poland and it is anticipated that over two million young pilgrims from around the world will attend this faith and joy filled event.
In less than fifty days, approximately sixteen hundred pilgrims from sixteen dioceses, religious congregations and ecclesial groups will travel to World Youth Day from Ireland. Feedback from young people in parishes, who have attended previous World Youth Days, has shown how positive this experience has been for them. Pilgrims have spoken of the joy and energy of the young Church and how connected they have felt with other young Catholics at this international faith gathering. In many cases the preparation for, and actual experience of, World Youth Day has made pilgrims feel more involved in the life of the Church, has reaffirmed their faith, and has led to many staying active in youth ministry after returning from World Youth Day.
The young pilgrims will be accompanied by Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, Bishop Michael Smith of Meath, Bishop Leo O’Reilly of Kilmore, Bishop Donal McKeown of Derry, Bishop Denis Brennan of Ferns, Bishop Denis Nulty of Kildare & Leighlin, Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick, Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin, Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan of Waterford & Lismore and Bishop Donal Murray, Bishop Emeritus of Limerick.
On 24 July diocesan groups and delegates from Ireland will attend evening prayer in Krakow. While some of the Irish pilgrims will participate in the ‘Days in the Diocese programme’ throughout Poland in the days preceding World Youth Day, the majority of pilgrims will arrive on 25 July ahead of the opening event on 26 July. As World Youth Day will be the last international Catholic event before the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, bishops have asked Irish pilgrims travelling to Krakow to encourage international participants to come here in August 2018.