How does a city get World Youth Day?

I would like to know how the Vatican selects which city will be the site of World Youth Day.

Do cities bid for this event? Is there a website where I can go to learn about the bidding process?

I think our city would be a perfect site for WYD, although I don’t know what the specs are, and perhaps we don’t meet them. But I would like to study the specs.

In terms of practical assets, our city is close to Chicago, so O’Hare and Midway airports would be available for pilgrims from around the world. We are also close to Milwaukee, and a lot of people from our city choose to use their good airport. And we have a beautiful airport in our city, too.

We are one of the cheapest cities in the U.S. when it comes to hotels, restaurants, and other practical expenses. (Unfortunately, our gas is not cheap, but our city is small enough that a tank of gas will last quite a while.)

We have several outdoor arenas and one excellent indoor arena, although I admit that we don’t have anything that will accomodate 1.5 million people!

And we are friendly and welcoming to guests!

Even if our city doesn’t meet the specs, I’ll bet Chicago DOES meet specs! I’m wondering if Chicago has ever considered bidding for WYD. Perhaps no one has ever suggested it. Well, if it’s a possibility at all, I’ll suggest it!

Thanks for any information about this question.

This is an interesting question and I’d love to learn the answer.

My guess is that they want to cover all the continents as much as possible, in an orderly way. The previous WYD was North America, right? The next one is in South America if I’m not mistaken. It tends to be the capital city of the given country or a big city if the capital is small. So perhaps your city could not host it on these grounds.

Greetings to those posting in the thread and who are reading this thread,

I too have wondered this. I will be watching this thread with great interest.

God bless.
Anathama Sit

The WYD city needs worldwide air transport and a large enough population that there are large enough venues to host it.

It does not need to be the capital of the country involved; the last one (Madrid) was; bur the 3 previous ones (Toronto, Koln, Sydney) were not.

It is often a “world class” city, but not always. In the past, WYDs have been held in Santiago de Compostela, Spain; Czestochowa, Poland, and Denver, USA, all places of secondary size.

So based on these factors, Chicago could easily be chosen. The last WYD in N.A. was 4 cycles ago (Toronto, 2002).

But most important, WYD is not quite assigned like an Olympics. There is no lobbying process that I know of, it is assigned by His Holiness, and one of the primary factors, according to it’s guidebook, is the perceived spiritual need there.

I’m sure USA has a huge spiritual need but so do other places. But who knows what might happen in five years.


From what i can make out: Sydney, Australia scored it in 2008 largely because of the woeful state of the Church in this country. WYD 08 was seen as medicine.
Madrid probably got it for the same reason, and because of the ultra-Left anti-Christian democratically elected er Government there: ie Spain desperately needs a good injection of Faith.

I can certainly see why the Pope would like to hold World Youth Day in a country/city where there is great spiritual need.

But he also has to remember the infrastructure of the country/city. Hotels, eating facilities, bathrooms, safety provisions (police force, hospitals, etc.)–all of this has to be available for the pilgrims.

I know that for many pilgrims in this world, having any kind of clean bathroom or something to eat is a luxury. We in the U.S., Canada, and other countries are priviliged compared to many others.

However, it is important that “wealthy” countries continue to send their pilgrims to this event so that it can be adequately funded. Like it or not, money is needed to set in motion much of what the Church does, and if rich countries stop sending pilgrims to the WYD because there are no decent places to sleep and no police to protect anyone, then WYD will grind to a halt.

I’m guessing that countries/cities who are interested “lobby” the Vatican so that the Pope and his aides have the information they need to make the selection.

Chicago would be perfect! It is a melting pot of cultures and languages. I’ve heard that the Polish Catholic population is larger than in Poland! And it is very friendly, just like most places in the Midwest. I think I’ll write a medal to Mayor Emmanuel and ask him to start lobbying!

It just boggles my mind – the number of people who attended WYD this year, in one city, all at once, exceeds the population of my state. I don’t know what kind of facility held the 1.5 million or more people. Can you image that many people all hungering to hear the voice of the Vicar of Christ all at once?

At the closing ceremonies of the Olympic games in Beijing and Athens in 2008 and 2004, there were only about 40,000 and 70,000 people, respectively – and that got worldwide press coverage.

This “Catholic Olympics” surely deserved better press coverage than it received. Maybe some day…

The governments of the host cities/states/nations of world Youth Day no doubt must prove they can provide adequate logistical, transportation, and security support, and that a substantial number of their people WANT the event. I hope there will be another WYD in the U.S. in the not too distant future. I doubt that the feds would welcome it though, due to immigration concerns and seeming anti-God mentality, of our current administration at least. Hopefully, I am wrong about that.

Spain just became the 1st country to have had 2 WYDs; this after more than 10 cycles. There still being many eligible nations that have not had it, I’d say it might still be several cycles before it returns to the USA.

I would hope that the USA, as a country, would show the same welcoming spirit that it was known for ante-2001. Certainly the people of the chosen city would.


I think that the “feds” would welcome it, because it means money! Our city is constantly bidding for various events, especially sporting events. North Carolina recently hosted the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, and they made a tidy sum!

And I like your comparison of WYD and the Olympics. I think that if WYD were in the U.S., there would be a lot of coverage from the media, especially if it were in Chicago (President Obama’s home city).

It’s unlikely that we would get it while he was still president. If reelected, there is only one open WYD cycle before his term would end.


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