The Youth Office of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life—once known as the Youth Section of the Pontifical Council for the Laity—was established in 1986 by John Paul II to give visibility and concreteness to the importance that the Pope and the whole Church attribute to the world of the young.
Within the universal Church, the Youth Office publicizes the Holy Father’s initiatives; it is at the service of the Episcopal Conferences in the field of youth ministry; it addresses youth movements, associations, and international communities, promoting collaboration and meetings between the various ecclesial realities; and it organizes conferences on youth ministry at international and continental levels.
The central element of its activity is the preparation of the international World Youth Days (WYD) that, every two or three years in different countries, gather hundreds of thousands of young people from around the world around the Pope. The WYD, established by John Paul II in 1985, also plans annual celebrations in local churches.
On behalf of the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life, the Youth Office finally supports the activities of the San Lorenzo International Youth Center, which is entrusted with the mission of welcoming and evangelizing young people who go to Rome to study or on pilgrimage.