Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
March 5, 2001
Local woman to bring back cross
Pilgrim Cross to tour Canada prior to World Youth Day
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — Going to Rome in April will be one of the biggest honours in Nicole Brown's life.
The archdiocese's assistant youth ministry coordinator was chosen as one of 27 Canadian delegates who will receive the Pilgrim Cross from Pope John Paul in Rome on Palm Sunday.
The cross will travel across Canada for the following 15 months to help the nation prepare for World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto.
"This means I will be accepting the cross for everyone here. It's a good responsibility," says Brown.
The calm-looking Brown talks about her upcoming trip to Rome with what seems like very little excitement in her voice, but her beaming smile says everything about the joy she feels.
Her name was submitted along with two others from the archdiocese. The national World Youth Day office in Toronto announced the names of the Canadian representatives at a Feb. 22 to 24 forum.
Brown heard of the announcement during a fundraising dinner at St. Alphonsus Church, hosted by the parish's WYD group. Almost in tears, Brown called her mother in Calgary to tell her the news. She joked that the next day, everyone in her family's parish, St. Bonaventure, had heard the good news.
Brown has only seen the 12-foot Pilgrim Cross in books. On Palm Sunday she will help to carry it home to Canada. The cross has been part of World Youth Day since it began more than 15 years ago.
It will travel to various dioceses throughout Canada and is expected to be in the Edmonton area in late August or early September. The cross will be part of the WYD events in Toronto that take place July 18-22, 2002.
Brown, 24, is a Calgary native and graduate of Bishop Grandin High School. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in history from the University of Calgary and is working on an education degree at the University of Alberta.
Whether it be as an educator or in ministry, Brown's long-term goal is to work with the youth. "I love working with young people because they have so much life and energy."
Not much older than some of the young people she works with, Brown has an understanding of the issues facing young adults today. She also recognizes the need for them to feel associated with the Church.
"A cross is the symbol of God's love for us," Brown said. "(The WYD cross) is even a greater symbol, it's meant for everyone, especially the youth. It says they're part of the community."
Having spent more than seven years working in youth ministry, Brown understands that youth do not always feel they belong in the Church.
"(The Pilgrim Cross) represents that they are all wanted here."
Brown attended World Youth Day in Denver, Colo., in 1993. "This is a continuation of the Denver pilgrimage," she said.
Brown has also been to Rome during a high school Easter trip, but this upcoming trip will have more meaning. "This is a pilgrimage," she said still beaming. "It's a very special trip."
This will also be the first time she will meet the pope in person, even shake his hand and receive a papal kiss.
"He's a real model for Catholics, . . . for me too. (The pope's) whole life is committed to this one purpose. He's a model for how we can live."
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