At the close of the 28th World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Pope Francis announced to an anticipatory audience:
“Dear Young Friends, we have made an appointment to meet at the next World Youth Day in 2016 in Cracow, Poland. Through the intercession of our Lady we pray to the Holy Spirit to light our way which will lead us towards this new stage of joyful celebration of faith and love of Jesus.”
Adding to the event significance, World Youth Day 2016 coincides with the 1,050th anniversary of Christianity in Poland. Furthermore, Krakow was the episcopal see of Blessed John Paul II, who founded World Youth Day in 1986. World Youth Day 2016 is the second such event to occur in Poland, the first of which took place when Czestochowa was the host city of World Youth Day 1991.
Following Pope Francis’s announcement of Krakow as the host of World Youth Day 2016, Krakow Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz stated:
“Only today do Poland and Cracow open wide their hearts so as to welcome, in three years time, the young pilgrims, headed by the Pope Francis. We wish to express our deepest gratitude to His Holiness for His decision to visit the mother country of the Blessed, soon the Saint, John Paul II and to celebrate, along with the “guards of dawn” their feast in Cracow. Most Holy Father, we await you, with your and our young friends from all over the world.”