It all started in 1984, when the International Jubilee for the Young celebration was led by Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square. The day coincided with the end of the Holy Year of Redemption. It was at this event that Pope John Paul II presented the youth of the world with the World Youth Day Cross.
In 1985, the United Nations declared the year to be “International Youth Year” for the first time ever. Pope John Paul II desired to celebrate International Youth Year with youth from the world by inviting them to Rome on Palm Sunday 1985. In December of that year, Pope John Paul II introduced and announced World Youth Day, to be celebrated on Palm Sunday and at the Diocesan level in Rome every year, and as a week-long international event every two to three years.
Throughout the years, since Pope John Paul II established World Youth Day, the WYD Cross has traveled around the world to numerous World Youth Days in many countries.