Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
August 20, 2001
WYD countdown begins
Local youth gather as Toronto event a year away
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — They munched on snacks, ate hamburgers, shared plans and stories as excitement continues to grow for World Youth Day in Toronto in July 2002.
To mark one year before the event, the archdiocesan Youth Commission sponsored a barbecue party, July 29.
"We are excited and we hope you are," said Andrew Papenbrock of the Youth Commission.
In spite of heavy rain, more than 100 parents, youth and youth ministers attended the afternoon gathering, which was planned to be an outdoor event.
To generate interest, photos from World Youth Day in Rome were on display as well as videos from the previous events.
White T-shirts emblazoned with the blue, yellow and red WYD logo were up for sale.
The informal gathering facilitated an exchange of ideas and plans for the archdiocese before the big event in Toronto, which ends with a papal Mass next July 28.
Interested parents inquired about details like the possibility of taking campers and trailers while others asked about volunteering.
Some of the attendees mentioned their plan of going as a family because events like this do not happen every year.
Aside from the visit of the World Youth Day Cross in November, another big event is the Days in the Diocese, Papenbrock said.
More than 1,500 people from around the world will be invited to visit Edmonton before the event in Toronto.
"We know a group of people will be coming from Germany and South Africa," Papenbrock said.
These visitors will be given a taste of the Lac Ste. Anne Pilgrimage next year and a folk festival will be organized for them, Papenbrock said.
The archdiocese will take care of their accommodation, food and transportation while they are visiting.
"I am excited to help in the Days in the Diocese," said Angela Vitale of St. Theresa Parish. With other members of the parish, Vitale is making plans to welcome visitors and host special liturgies.
Various parishes have started their own initiatives to promote the event.
Not only did they share hamburgers prepared by the Knights of Columbus Council 1184, young people who attended previous WYD shared their experiences and how they gained friends from other countries like Africa, Italy, and the Philippines among others.
"It was phenomenal to be in Manila and be with that huge crowd," said Chantal Rokosh, 22, of St. Theresa Parish.
Her experience at World Youth Day in Manila, Philippines, moved her and played a key part in her conversion. To be able to bond with other young people from all over the world was an experience she would not forget.
"I know it (will) not be the same as Manila but I am going to (Toronto) expecting a miracle," Rokosh said.
"How can such an event happen in Canada without a miracle?" she asked.
Others who have not been to a WYD before shared their excitement and personal plans.
For Shauna Oshanyk, 32, of St. Theresa Parish and Mike Kantor, 26, of St. Thomas More Parish, this is not just a trip to Toronto to see the pope.
Both expressed their excitement to meet other young people from all over the world on a pilgrimage to meet Jesus.
"I am looking at the preparation time as a time to deepen my faith and I'm looking forward to the different events for the whole year before the actual day," Oshanyk told the WCR.
Registration forms, T-shirts, booklets and other information are available at the Youth Commission office. Call 469-6213.
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.