It is known under many names: the “Holy Year Cross”, the “Jubilee Cross”, the “WYD Cross”, the “Pilgrim Cross”. Many call it the “Youth Cross” as it was given by Pope John Paul II to young people to take around the world to every place and every age.
A large wooden Cross, 3.8 meters high, a symbol of the Christian Faith, was placed near the High Altar of Saint Peter´s Basilica during the Year of Redemption (Holy Week 1983 to Holy Week 1984). At the end of that year, after closing the Holy Door, John Paul II gave that cross to all youth as a symbol of Christ´s love. In the name of youth everywhere, it was received by the Saint Lawrence International Youth Center in Rome. The Pontiff´s words on the occasion were: "My dear young people, at the conclusion of this Holy Year, I entrust to you the sign of this Jubilee Year: the Cross of Christ! Carry it throughout the world as a symbol of Christ's love for humanity, and announce to everyone that only in the death and resurrection of Christ can we find salvation and redemption" (Rome, 22nd April 1984).
Since 1984, the WYD Cross has set out on its journey around the world, in Europe, beyond the Iron Curtain, and to the Americas, Asia, Africa and Australia, present at every WYD. Since 1994, WYD Cross has journeyed through dioceses of the host country of the next WYD.
In 2003, Pope John Paul II entrusted to the youth another symbol of faith to be taken all over the world with the Cross: the Icon of Our Lady, Salus Populi Romanix. This icon is a copy of a venerated icon in Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome (the first and the largest basilica in Rome dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary). "From now on it will accompany the World Youth Days, together with the Cross. Behold, your Mother! It will be a sign of Mary's motherly presence close to young people who are called, like the Apostle John, to welcome her into their lives." (Angelus, 18th World Youth Day, 13 April 2003)
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