So We’re Going To Krakow, Are We..?
Posted: Fri, 19 Dec 2014 18:55
Now that the worst-kept secret in the world is out of the bag, we”re free to talk about it in a little more than passing whispers and vague hints: yes, that”s right folks, the next World Youth Day is going to be held in Krakow, Poland in 2016. Here are some thoughts.
- While the location wasn”t a surprise, the date was. It was widely expected to be 2015, to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the first World Youth Day and the 10th anniversary of (by then) Pope Saint John Paul. Interestingly though, the PCL have clearly taken the hint (and the feedback) that two years is too small a gap, and decided that the need to plan and raise money trumps the need to hit the anniversaries dead on. A very smart, sensible move.
- Even though WYD won”t hit the tenth anniversary of his death, this event will still be very, very JP2 centred. Indeed, if there is any sense in the Vatican (and there is these days) Pope Saint JP2 will be made a patron – if not the patron – of WYD, ensuring a link far into the future.
- There is every chance that the numbers in Krakow could be massive. Even higher than Rio. You see, there are two factors which make numbers at WYD high. One is the event being hosted in Europe, the other is when it”s hosted in a very Catholic country. Toronto and Sydney, for instance, fell into neither category, and so they failed to even hit a million. Madrid on the other hand was huge because it was in Europe (yeah, Spain ain”t really that Catholic any more, so it wasn”t that!) and Rio was huge because Brazil is uber-Catholic. And here”s the thing: Krakow will be the first WYD held in a very Catholic country that”s also in Europe. I reckon, those two things will conspire to make it massive. The last WYD in Poland (Częstochowa, 1991) saw 1.6 million, which was huge in 1991. Excluding the Jubillee event in 2000, Częstochowa remains the second-largest European WYD. The poles alone will send a few million. Add the rest of the world to that and you could be looking at numbers approaching Manilla”s high water mark of 5 million!
- Another factor that will push numbers up is the fact that Krakow will be the first WYD affected by the Pope Francis factor. Okay, maybe Rio was affected a little, but the chances are that most people who hadn”t booked by March, weren”t likely to get themselves sorted for an event only a few months away. This time, though…
- It will be interesting to see how Poland”s progress in the EU affects it”s immigration policy. Under the Schengen agreement, Poland has abolished border controls to the west, meaning that a pilgrim arriving in Poland can happily get all the way to Calais or to the tip of Spain without showing a passport. I wonder, therefore, if the other European countries will make Poland be a bit tetchy about who they let in? Immigration, after all, can kill a WYD. Remember Toronto..?
All for now. More will surely follow!
[image hotlinked from Wikipedia]