International World Youth Day
At the end of the Holy Year in 1984, the Holy Father invited young people from the movements and associations throughout the world to be present in Rome for the concluding ceremony. At this time, Pope John Paul II gave to these young people the Cross of the Holy Year as a remembrance of their redemption.
The following year, 1985, the Holy Father again invited young people to Rome on Palm Sunday for the observance of the United Nations (U.N.) International Year of Youth. Thus, the celebrations of World Youth Day were initiated.
The Holy Father's meetings with young people and special letters to them have continued beyond the U.N. observance and have become a yearly celebration. Since 1985, Pope John Paul II has issued a letter addressed to the young people of the world, and on alternating years he has invited the young people of the world to meet with him at one location for catechesis, fellowship, worship, and renewal. These meetings have now taken place in Rome (85), Buenos Aires (87), Santiago de Compostela (89), Czestochowa (91), Denver (93), Manila (95), and Paris (97). In the interim period between WYD 1997 and WYD 2000, celebrations for young people were held on every continent with Chile hosting North, Central, and South America.
In August of 2000, approximately 2 million young people will gather in Rome for World Youth Day 2000. It is expected to be the largest gathering in this Holy City during the Jubilee Year. The theme is from the Gospel of John: "And the word became flesh, and dwelt among us" (Jn 1:14)
Although this international gathering is called World Youth Day, it is understood that young adults, those in their late teens, twenties, and thirties are also included. The translation of "World Youth Day" in most other languages clearly includes "young adults." The age requirement for WYD 2000 is 16 to 30's.
World Youth Day in the US
As was noted above, such international gatherings occur about every two years. However, each year we are invited to celebrate World Youth Day in our parishes and dioceses. In the United States, World Youth Day is celebrated on the Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time rather than on Palm Sunday, the date on which it is celebrated in Rome. In 1988, the Administrative Committee of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops chose a different date for the U.S. celebration, allowing more parishes and schools to participate and not conflict with Palm Sunday and preparations for the Triduum and Easter Sunday. This date, which typically falls on the last weekend of October, was chosen because of the appropriateness of the lectionary readings, and it does not conflict with other national celebrations/observances. At times, our national celebration for World Youth Day does fall on the same Sunday as Mission Sunday. When this happens, we invite parishes and schools to collaborate in the celebration of these two important events.
Readings for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time October 2 3-24, 1999
First Reading-Exodus 22: 20-26, Psalm Response-Psalm 18: 2-3, 3-4, 47, 51, Second Reading-l Thessalonians 1: 5-10, Gospel-Matthew 22: 34-40.
Suggested celebrations and other helpful resources can be found in the annual WYD Manual published annually by the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, Inc. The 1999 manual, Forgiven in God's Embrace, is now available and can be ordered by calling 202-636-3825 or email email@example.com.
adapted from "Forgiven in God's Embrace" - 1999 World Youth Day Resource Manual. National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry. Inc. Washington, DC. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
NOTE: Registration information and other details regarding World Youth Day 2000 can be found at: www.nccbuscc.org/laity