Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 5, 2000
St. Albert stages huge jubilee liturgy
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Catholic schools celebrated Jubilee 2000 with a liturgy of the word that attracted more than 6,000 students and teachers to the Seven Hills area of this historic Catholic city.
The May 26 outdoor event, focusing on the theme Called to Love, also celebrated the 2,000th anniversary of the birth of Jesus and 140 years of Church life in St. Albert.
"This is a very special year for our Church," declared Lee Lucente, superintendent for the Greater St. Albert Catholic School Division.
"It's a jubilee year. It happens every 50 years and we are called to love our neighbour as ourselves, to forgive, to be kind to others and to serve the poor and the less fortunate."
Traditionally, during jubilee years people would let their land rest, release slaves and forgive debts.
Students in the city's Catholic schools spent the five months before the jubilee liturgy working on community service projects, from assisting the elderly to volunteering in food banks.
The students focused their projects on different concepts each month - justice, forgiveness, environmental awareness, freedom and celebration.
Then they wrote descriptions of their service projects on recipe cards, put them into 17 small boxes and presented them to Archbishop Thomas Collins during the liturgy.
In his homily, Collins told students the Gospel message of love has to be practised by constant service to others.
"(Like Jesus) we are called to wash feet; we are called to constant, daily actions of kindness," he said.
"If we are going to be in the spirit of this place, St. Albert, and this time of jubilee, both of which are linked to the message of the Gospel - loving God and loving neighbour - we need to live and to love in practical service to one another."
Dawn Kirvan, religious education consultant for the school division and an organizer of the liturgy, was happy with the event. "To celebrate the jubilee we wanted to do something special that the kids can really remember. I'm sure they'll remember this celebration."
Student Chris Benson of Vincent J. Maloney Junior High came to the liturgy to "commemorate the jubilee and to have a little fun." He did both and more.
"I was very impressed with the archbishop's comments," he said. "I think he was right on when he said we are called to daily actions of kindness."
Benson plans to live the jubilee ideals of practical service by helping needy kids in the St. Albert area.
Matthew Pennycook, a Grade 8 student at Ste. Marguerite d'Youville School, came to the liturgy "to remember Jesus and all the things he has done for us."
He said the archbishop's message to love God and neighbour inspired him to "be kind to others" and to continue doing charitable work.
"He gave a very good speech," said 14-year-old Steven Roy of the archbishop's homily. "He gave us some important ideas on what we should do with our time." The Marguerite d'Youville student plans to put the Gospel message into practice by "doing community service and lots of good things for other people."
Sherry Zilinski, a Grade 9 student at Legal School, felt at peace in the jubilee celebration, which she said shows God is present everywhere his children are.
She found the archbishop's message "interesting" and plans to fulfill it by "being kinder to others."