Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 14, 1999
Prepare for the Great Jubilee
Local churches working to make jubilee celebration an ecumenical affair
By ANH HOANG
WCR Staff Writer
It's all about preparation.
You can't bake a cake without first preparing the ingredients. You can't go to bed without washing your face and brushing your teeth.
And you can't celebrate Jubilee 2000 without preparing for its coming.
For the parishioners of St. Thomas More Church, it has been a three-year preparation period.
"This began in 1997," said Patricia Foisy, who heads the Jubilee 2000 committee at St. Thomas More. "It's a very strong spiritual preparation.
"You can't wait for the day and then celebrate it. You have to understand it, what it means. You have to prepare for it."
Such preparations have included workshops and guest speakers. Parishioners have also been involved in an in-depth jubilee preparation program designed by Father Tom Rosica of Toronto. Foisy said the program helps parishioners develop a deeper understanding of the celebrations.
St. Thomas parishioner and quilter Marianne Shivak has been working on a series of banners reflecting various jubilee themes. The fourth and final banner will be unveiled at the Christmas Eve Mass.
The sliding glass doors inside the foyer of the church will be etched with liturgical symbols and represent the jubilee door, which will be opened at the Christmas Eve Mass.
Like the jubilee doors at the Vatican, which Pope John Paul will open Christmas Eve, this door represents the gateway of the Lord.
St. Thomas More is among dozens of local Christian churches preparing for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.
"We really want this to be a celebration that includes everyone," said Cathy Harvey, coordinator of the archdiocese's Commission for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations.
"We try not to focus just on the churches in (the archdiocese). We want this to be very much a universal celebration."
Harvey is also on the board of the Edmonton District Council of Churches. The group, consisting of representatives from various churches, has been planning Jubilee 2000 as a united Christian event.
Future events include a New Year's Eve bash and a gala festival in summer 2000.
The council also brought together local Church leaders to reflect on the jubilee June 3.
Included in the panel were Archbishop Thomas Collins, Ukrainian Catholic Bishop Lawrence Huculak, Anglican Bishop Victoria Matthews, Lutheran Bishop Stephen Kristenson, and the Rev. Scott Agur of the United Church.
"We don't lack information, we lack understanding," Collins said. "We need to reflect on the relationship of where we've been, where we're going and where we are now."
For the jubilee celebration, the council has focused on three themes - a release from bondage, redistribution of wealth and renewal of the earth.
"Never before the 20th century has more harm been done to the earth," Agur said. "The earth is not ours, it's God's."
Jubilee, like its name, is meant as a time of joyous celebration. Christenson is confident that the new millennium will not mean the end of human existence.
"Many are facing this unreasonable fear and holing themselves up," he said. "The date itself means very little. The world is not going to end. I don't think it will. We're not planning on it and we're not sitting here waiting for it to happen.
"But it's a time to celebrate."
All the Church leaders said the jubilee is a time to reach out to each other, whether it be those from other faiths or economic status.
"For jubilee, we are invited to do something for someone besides ourselves," Matthews said. "We have a home in this country. Is it not time to offer it to those who do not have one?"
New Year's Eve dinners are a popular Jubilee 2000 event for many local churches.
St. Joseph's Basilica has focused its jubilee gala around the family, dubbing it Come Home for the Millennium.
"New Year's Eve, we'll have a family gathering," said Father Len Cadieux, basilica rector. "There will be a family dinner and dance.
"It will be a family celebration."
Included in St. Joseph's jubilee celebration for the past two years, are monthly Sunday vespers, which includes guest speakers reflecting on jubilee.
St. Albert's Holy Family Parish is planning to celebrate Jubilee 2000 as well as its 20th anniversary.
The parish will combine the two celebrations adapting the Church's history with Jubilee 2000 themes. Other activities planned are the construction of a jubilee banner and jubilee prayer cards for parishioners.
Parishioners at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Sherwood Park are literally counting down the days with the help of their jubilee clock.
It will tick until the end of the year, which will be celebrated with a gala dinner Christmas Eve. The OLPH committee also plans to include a time capsule and 2,000 birthday candles in their celebration.
Ethnicity is the theme of the gala jubilee dinner at Good Shepherd Parish.
"We have 28 countries represented in our church," said Sister Connie Piska, the pastoral assistant. "We'll include ethnic foods from all these countries.
"One of the jubilee themes is to bring unity. That's why we want to include everybody in this way."