World Youth Day RomeOver 20 years ago World Youth Day (WYD) began at the invitation of the Holy Father (John Paul II), who wanted to gather young people together for a celebration of faith, life and love. Since the first one in Rome in 1984, there has been a WYD almost every year. On every alternative year when it is not held in Rome, Italy on Palm Sunday; it takes place in a different international destination. These international celebrations have been held in the following places – view table.

In 1995 the gathering in Manila, Philippines recorded an attendance of over four million. In the millennium year of 2000, World Youth Day in Rome attracted over two and a half million pilgrims. Simply by attracting so many pilgrims, World Youth Day has become a significant spiritual phenomenon. Participants are mainly Catholics, although the invitation to take part is extended to all.