Speaking at the end of his mass in Rio, Brazil, Pope Francis revealed that the next World Youth Day (WYD) in 2016 will be held in the Polish city of Krakow
"Dear young friends, we have an appointment for the next World Youth Day in 2016 in Krakow, Poland," he said at the end of a mass attended by three million pilgrims on Rio's Copacabana beach.
Argentine-born Francis was wrapping up a week-long visit to Brazil, the world's most populous Catholic country, on his first overseas trip since his election in March.
The choice of Krakow is in honor of John Paul II, who hailed from Krakow and who started the World Youth Day (WYD) events during his charismatic papacy.
"We express our gratitude to the Holy Father for this decision," said Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the archbishop metropolitan of Krakow, in a statement released here. "We look forward to your coming and to the arrival of so many of our young friends, with great anticipation and joy."
The first official WYD was held in 1986, although it had been preceded by two previous mass gatherings of young people from around the world in Rome.
The next was held the following year in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires, where Francis was archbishop before he became pope.