World Youth Day 2002

XVII World Youth Day
Date July 23, 2002 (2002-07-23)-
July 28, 2002 (2002-07-28)
Location Toronto, Canada
Type Youth festival
Theme You are the salt of the earth ... you are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:13-14)
Participants John Paul II

The 17th World Youth Day 2002 (WYD2002) was a Catholic youth festival held July 23-July 28, 2002, in Toronto, Canada. World Youth Day is a celebration of faith begun by Pope John Paul II held on an international level every two to three years, and WYD2002 was the 10th such event. It was also Pope John Paul II's last World Youth day. An estimated 400,000-500,000 youths from all over the world participated in the week-long festival. Although WYD is designed for Catholics, it attracts sizable numbers of youths from other faiths and denominations and was presented as a multi-faith celebration of young people from all over the world.

As the event is ultimately an expression of faith, and a critical expression of faith is through service to others, World Youth Day 2002 had the support of some 25,000 volunteers; and some 100,000 pilgrims themselves spent three hours each on one of 750 service projects.

The theme of the event was "You are the salt of the earth ... you are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:13-14).

The groundswell of Catholic spirituality following World Youth Day 2002 in Canada led to the establishment of Canada's first national Catholic television network, Salt + Light Television. Fr. Thomas Rosica, who was the National Director of WYD2002, is also the founder and Chief Executive Officer of this new television station.

Days in the Diocese

You are young, and the Pope is old, 82 or 83 years of life is not the same as 22 or 23. But the Pope still fully identifies with your hopes and aspirations... I have seen enough evidence to be unshakably convinced that no difficulty, no fear is so great that it can completely suffocate the hope that springs eternal in the hearts of the young. You are our hope, the young are our hope.[1]
 Pope John Paul II

World Youth Day 2002 solidified Days of the Diocese, held in various dioceses - with the majority in Montreal, Quebec and London, Ontario - as a major component leading up to the actual WYD Celebrations.

The scale is massive: Days of the Diocese involved the participation of 35 of Canada's 72 dioceses. Events in various communities welcomed pilgrims from all over the world with music, prayers, and cathechetical sessions.

The week-long World Youth Day Celebrations involved the use of some 129 Catholic churches and 7 halls at Exhibition Place, 10 stages (as well as Downsview Park and 5 other parks in Toronto), 30 seminars, 10 prayer experiences, 300 vocational or service group exhibits, 10 cultural gatherings.[2]

John Paul II's Last WYD

With deteriorating health, there was speculation that the Pope would not be able to attend the celebrations.

At his arrival address, he thanked the local, provincial, and federal levels of the Canadian government for supporting the idea of hosting WYD. He recalled his previous Apostolic Journeys to the country and acknowledged that he does not have the same physical strength he once had.[3]

Pope John Paul II participated by being present at all the major events of the week. While not being able to participate in person, he did view the Friday Stations of the Cross via television coverage by the CBC.[4]

He led the Saturday evening vigil and presided over the Holy Mass on the Sunday, delivering a homily which focused on entrusting the future of the Church to the youth. A crowd of over 850,000 was in attendance for these events.[5]

Theme song

The theme song, "Light of the World" was composed by Fr Robert Lebel, a Quebec priest and a well-known composer of French-language religious music; and translated into English by Bishop Paul-André Durocher. Four official versions were released as follows:

The songs were released on a two disc official CD set entitled "Lumière du Monde/Light of the World", released by Oregon Catholic Press (OCP). The album featured bands such as Critical Mass, Susan HooKong Taylor, Janelle, and Jesse Manibusan, among others.

Other versions were also released in localised languages which include the following Chinese versions released by Photon Distribution, Inc. on the disc entitled The Way 4 - Light of the World:

See also


Additional Notes

Coordinates: 43°44′15″N 79°28′42″W / 43.73750°N 79.47833°W / 43.73750; -79.47833

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