20 December 1985

Pope John Paul II announces support for World Youth Day.

At the very beginning, during the Jubilee Year of Redemption, and then again for the International Year of Youth, sponsored by the United Nations (1985), young people were invited to Rome. This was the beginning. No one invented the World Youth Days. It was the young people themselves who created them. Those days, those encounters, then became something desired by young people throughout the world. Most of the time these Days were something of a surprise for priests, and even bishops, in that they surpassed all their expectations.

The World Youth Days have become a great and fascinating witness that young people give of themselves. They have become a powerful means of evangelization.In the young there is, in fact, an immense potential for good and for creative possibility. The very day of the inauguration of my papal ministry, on October 22nd 1978, at the conclusion of the liturgy, I said to the young people gathered in St. Peter’s Square: ‘You are the hope of the Church and of the world. You are my hope.’ I have often repeated these words.”