Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
May 7, 2001
World Youth Day cross visits Prince George
Cross present at prayers in the rain in Kitimat, diocesan youth gathering
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — The ongoing pilgrimage of the World Youth Day Cross came to the Diocese of Prince George April 22-29.
Prince George received the cross from its northern neighbours, the Diocese of Whitehorse. During the cross's time in the Prince George Diocese it stopped in Fort St. John, Burns Lake, Moricetown, Kitimat and finally in Prince George for the annual diocesan youth conference.
Our communities received the cross with excitement and reverence. Resurrection Parish in Fort St. John celebrated in prayer that drew a wide cross section of the community.
Moricetown had a youth gathering around the cross, processed it through town, brought it to a senior citizens home and had an all night vigil with the cross in Holy Rosary Church.
Nestled among the northern Coastal Mountains, the parish community of Christ the King in Kitimat began its celebrations with the cross with the students of St. Anthony's Elementary School. The students from St. Anthony's carried the cross to the local Mount Elizabeth Secondary School.
Outside the school they had a period of silence and processed back to the church. That evening more than 350 members of the community gathered for a prayer service at the church and participated in a procession carrying the cross to the Cenotaph at the centre of town.
At the Cenotaph there were songs and praise, Scripture readings and testimonies shared. True to the northern coast, the rain was steady that evening in Kitimat, but it did not dampen the prayerfulness of the gathering. Afterward, the cross was carried in procession back to Christ the King Church.
The cross's pilgrimage brought it to the diocesan youth conference, April 27-29.
Gene Monterastelli and Brad Farmer of APeX Ministries led the more than 240 youth in prayer and fun. APeX drew from the presence of the cross to help us be more fully aware that Christ's love is always there to embrace us.
God is ready to embrace us if only we accept God's love. During a candle lit Reconciliation service we were invited to reflect and embrace God's forgiveness and love through the cross. The solemnity and seriousness of this time of prayer moved participants of all ages.
During the course of the conference we experienced the hijinks of Gene and Brad as they further shared the Gospel. Through humorous skits and death defying juggling we learned about the importance of respecting each other, the significance of community and that each of us have been given the gift to make God smile.
We can make God smile every time we meet someone. God invites us to embrace this gift in and through his love.
As the WYD cross continued its journey and was passed on to the Diocese of Kamloops all of us who gathered for the services, celebrations and youth conference also continued on our journeys. May the renewal of faith we experienced with the cross help us to further embrace our calling to be the salt of the earth and the light to the world.
After Kamloops, the WYD cross was to be present in the Vancouver Archdiocese May 4-9 and then move to the Nelson Diocese. It will travel through Alberta dioceses in November.
(Joe Glaab is youth ministry coordinator for the Diocese of Prince George.)
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