At the close of the Holy Year of Redemption on 22 April 1984, then Pope (soon saint) John Paul II, entrusted the large wooden cross used during the Jubilee Year to representatives of the world’s youth with the words: ‘My dear young people, at the conclusion of the Holy Year, I entrust to you the sign of this Jubilee Year: the Cross of Christ! Carry it throughout the world as a symbol of Christ's love for humanity, and announce to everyone that only in the death and resurrection of Christ can we find salvation and redemption’. Almost thirty years later, with typical exuberance and vigor, the young are still carrying that cross across the world, and how!
In December of the following year, the first UN-declared ‘International Youth Year’, Pope John Paul II announced the institution of World Youth Day (WYD), a coming together of the world’s young adults to celebrate their Catholic Faith. WYD was to be celebrated annually at the diocesan level on Palm Sunday in Rome and at week-long events in different countries every two to three years .