Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
June 25, 2001
Volunteer shortage worries group organizing relics
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — The organizing committee for the visit of the relics of St. Thérèse of Lisieux needs more hands to execute its plans.
"We need security, hospitality, parking attendants, facility maintenance and first aid providers," chairperson Rick Strauss told the WCR.
Only six per cent of the needed personnel have been recruited to assist the expected 75,000 to 100,000 pilgrims from all over northern Alberta.
"We really need a lot more (volunteers). We are thinking big and we are trying to prepare for that," said Strauss, who is also chairperson of St. Theresa's parish council.
"We are looking at 500 to 600 people to assist us in various shifts over the two-day period (Sept. 29-Oct 1.) and we are not getting a lot of people yet," he added.
Strauss expressed concern because June is almost over. He hopes not to be caught with a volunteer shortage come September.
The committee does not expect any individual to work for a long period of time although they may ask some who are interested to help them two days in a row.
St. Theresa Church will be open all night while the relics are being venerated.
"It is important that we have persons to welcome visiting pilgrims, besides that we anticipate a kind of security element to what goes on," Strauss said.
"And then again along with the large crowd we have to be concerned about first aid in the event of any medical need."
The committee is looking for people who have any background in first aid or any medical training.
"We welcome anybody to help us with (first aid), aside from that there is really no qualifications (required for volunteers)," Strauss added.
The committee also anticipates that the reliquary will be flooded with large volumes of flowers. Maintenance is important to make sure that new flowers are brought in and old ones replaced.
St. Theresa Church is accessible to disabled persons but its parking space is inadequate, which is a major concern of the committee. This creates a need for a large number of parking attendants.
Cars will not be allowed to park on side streets near the church while buses will be allowed to stop and unload passengers within the vicinity.
"We have made arrangements with our neighbours," said Strauss. Parking will also be available at Grant MacEwan College, Ecole FrŠre Antoine and the Pentecostal Church on 23rd Avenue and 66th Street.
"But even that will not be adequate, so we are looking at park and ride type of service," Strauss added.
The park and ride is still in the works. The committee is negotiating with shopping centres that have huge parking spaces, where pilgrims can park their cars and take a shuttle bus to St. Theresa.
"This is an archdiocesan project. It is not an undertaking of our parish alone," said Strauss. "It is an opportunity for the archdiocese as a whole to participate in a significant event in the life of our local church."
Volunteers are requested to leave their names and phone numbers with their parish office for submission to the organizing committee.
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