Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
September 24, 2001
Parish ready to host St. Thérèse's relics
Up to 100,000 expected to visit in 2 days
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — Excitement is building as St. Theresa Parish in Millwoods prepares to receive the relics of its patron saint at the end of September.
"This is a very exciting time for us," said Rick Strauss, chair of the 12-member committee organizing the reliquary visit. "We are very pleased we were chosen to host (the remains of) such a great saint."
The relics of St. Thérèse of Lisieux will be displayed at St. Theresa Church, 7508-29 Ave., from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 before they go to the Carmelite monastery in Devon.
"It's a great privilege for our parish to have the relics of such a great saint in our church as we celebrate her feast day on Oct. 1," said Father Martin Carroll, pastor of St. Theresa Parish since July.
"St. Thérèse is someone we can all imitate. She showed us how we can become closer to Jesus by doing simple, ordinary things. She is a model of love and faith," said Carroll.
Anywhere from 75,000 to 100,000 pilgrims from all over northern Alberta are expected to visit the remains and attend religious services surrounding the event. Visitors are urged to use a Park & Ride system based at Heritage Mall, rather than try to park close to the church.
Strauss said the parish is fully prepared to handle the task, noting that more than 500 parishioners have offered to volunteer in a variety of tasks throughout the visit, including parking, security, sales and maintenance. "We are ready to tackle it," he said. "We have a great crew."
Archbishop Thomas Collins called the visit of the relics "a significant event in the life of the archdiocese" and urged Catholics to seize the opportunity to be close to the saint and ask for her intercession.
"We can ask for St. Thérèse's prayers anywhere but when her relics come to us it's certainly appropriate for us to come together in the presence of the relics and ask her prayers," he said.
"(But) the most important thing is that we imitate her and that we follow her teaching of the little way of serving Jesus."
The reliquary, which contains a significant portion of the saint's bones, will arrive at the church from Prince George, B.C., the evening of Sept. 29 and will be welcomed at the church at 7:30 p.m. No Mass is planned for the reception.
There are Masses scheduled on Sunday Sept. 30 at 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. On Monday Oct. 1 there will be Masses at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. The 7:30 p.m. Mass will be concelebrated by Collins and the priests of the archdiocese.
The reliquary, which will be placed in front of the main altar, will be on display during the Masses and will be available for veneration between celebrations throughout the day and night.
Pilgrims will be able to walk up to the altar and see the reliquary through a plexiglas dome, which they can touch and to which they can apply any religious objects they may bring with them. Given the large crowds expected, Strauss is hoping people will not stay too long around the reliquary.
The sacrament of Reconciliation will also be available, with priests available on Sept. 29 from 7 to 10 p.m., Sept. 30 from 1 to 7 p.m. and Oct. 1 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Those planning to drive their vehicles to St. Theresa are being warned that parking around the church will be extremely limited as all the spots adjacent to the church have being reserved for the physically disabled and clergy.
A few parking spots are available in a lot across from the church and some public parking near the Millwoods Recreation Centre on 28th Avenue, but organizers anticipate that these spots will be filled very quickly.
To help alleviate traffic problems, pilgrims are being advised to use a free shuttle service to be provided from the far southwest corner of the Heritage Mall parking lot at 23rd Avenue and 111th Street.
The Park & Ride will run about every half hour and will be available Sept. 29 from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Sept. 30 from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Oct. 1 from 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
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