· Forty-five thousand sign up for WYD only a few hours after Pope Francis ·
Less than 24 hours after registration opened for next year's World Youth Day (WYD), 45,000 people had already signed up. The first to register was Pope Francis himself who had previously announced that the theme of the meeting would revolve around mercy. According to the website's managers, thus far there are 250 “macrogroups” and 300 volunteers signed up. The countdown to the event is already surrounded by great enthusiasm. In exactly one year — from 26 to 31 July 2016 — young people will meet in Krakow for the 31st WYD.
Twenty five years after its start, WYD will return to Poland, the land of the Pontiff who created it. Even if Pope Wojtyła loved to say that “it was the young people themselves who invented WYD”. In 1991 in Częstochowa, a strong wind of faith was announced to the young people and from them the faith blew beyond the iron curtain. The young Christians of eastern and western Europe experienced the first large-scale encounter after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Pope Wojtyła returned to his homeland for WYD which saw the participation of more than one million people.
A true jubilee of young people will be celebrated on a global level. Pope Francis recalled this at the Angelus and Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, also underlined it in a message published on the dicastery's website. The theme of WYD is “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” is part of the extraordinary holy year which will begin on 8 December. WYD in Krakow will complete a three part series of themes dedicated to the Beatitudes. The theme in Rio in 2014 was “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. This year's theme for the 30th WYD on the diocesan level is “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God”.
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