Pope Francis has announced the themes for the next three World Youth Days, including the theme for international World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland in 2016.
Theme for the 31st World Youth Day, 2016 in Krakow
“Blessed are the merciful: they shall have mercy shown them” (Mt 5:7)
For the two years leading up to international WYD 2016, themes have also been decided by Pope Francis in spiritual preparation.
29th World Youth Day, 2014
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:3).
30th World Youth Day, 2015
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Mt 5:8)
The three themes are taken from the Gospel Beatitudes. In July 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Pope Francis asked the Argentine youth gathered in the Cathedral of São Sebastião “with all my heart” to read the Beatitudes again and to make them the action plan for their lives: “Look, read the Beatitudes: that will do you good!”
Past World Youth Day Themes
2013 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Go and make disciples of all nations. (Mt 28: 19) This was Pope Francis’s first World Youth Day.
2011 – Madrid, Spain
Rooted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith. (Col 2:7) This was the final World Youth Day that would be led by Pope Benedict XVI.
2008 – Sydney, Australia
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses. (Acts 1:8)
2005 – Cologne, Germany
We have come to worship Him. (Mt 2:2). This was the first World Youth Day for Pope Benedict XVI.
2002 – Toronto, Canada
You are the salt of the earth… you are the light of the world. (Mt 5:13-14) This was the final World Youth Day that would be led by Pope John Paul II.
2000 – Rome, Italy
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (Jn 1:14)
1997 – Paris, France
Teacher, where are you staying? Come and see! (Jn 1:38-39)
1995 – Manila, Philippines
As the Father sent me, so am I sending you. (Jn 20:21) This was the most attended World Youth Day, with more than four million people in attendance.
1993 – Denver, Colorado, USA
I came that they might have life, and have it to the full. (Jn 10:10)
1991 – Czestochowa, Poland
You have received a spirit of sonship. (Rom 8:15)
1989 – Santiago de Compostela, Spain
I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. (Jn 14:6)
1987 – Buenos Aires, Argentina
We ourselves have known and put our faith in God’s love towards ourselves. (1 Jn 4:16) This was the first World Youth Day held outside of Europe.
1986 – Rome, Italy
Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you. (1 Pt 3:15) This was the first World Youth Day, and was held only at the Diocesan Level.