‘During the five World Youth Days that I have attended, I have found my faith encouraged by the joy and deepening faith of beautiful young people,’ Archbishop Hart added.

The main goal of World Youth Day is to tell young people about the message of Jesus Christ and to provide, in the context of a joyful meeting with the Pope, opportunities to encounter the face of Christ.

As millions of pilgrims from around the world gather in Krakow, World Youth Day is a testimony of the living Church and a sign of faith and hope for the future.

In this special Year of Mercy, the theme of World Youth Day is ‘Blessed are the merciful; for they shall receive mercy’ (Matthew 5:7).

On Tuesday 26 July, an Australian gathering is scheduled to take place in Krakow, Poland with more than two and a half thousand Aussie pilgrims joining the Australian bishops, the Australian Ambassador to Poland, representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Cosmos tour operator staff and ACBC support. This will be followed by the opening mass of World Youth Day.

Pope Francis will arrive on Thursday 28 July and the way of the cross will be held on Friday afternoon 29 July. A vigil mass will take place on Saturday 30 July and on Sunday morning 31 July, the final papal mass will conclude the international event.

Bishops and pilgrims will arrive in Krakow after spending some time on various group pilgrimages, which include walking through the Holy Doors at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, reliving the scriptures by travelling through the Holy Land and tracing the footsteps of Pope John Paul II across Poland.

The previous World Youth Day was hosted by Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2013. World Youth Day was hosted in Sydney during July 2008.

Further information available: http://www.wyd.org.au/