Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
October 1, 2001
WYD cross to spend November in Alberta
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — The World Youth Day pilgrim cross, which has been touring Canada since April, will spend most of November criss-crossing Alberta.
The cross's Nov. 18-19 visit to Edmonton will feature a rally at the Skyreach Centre, a procession down Jasper Avenue, and overnight vigils at St. Josaphat's Ukrainian Cathedral and St. Anthony's Church.
In the Edmonton Archdiocese, the four-metre tall cross will also visit Hinton, Edson, Lamont, Mundare, Vegreville, Wainwright, Viking, Killam, Daysland, Camrose, Drayton Valley, Leduc, Spruce Grove, Enoch, St. Albert, Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Lloydminster, Provost, Consort, Stettler, Hobbema, Ponoka, and Red Deer and area.
The Edmonton and St. Paul dioceses, and Ukrainian eparchy will share the cross from Nov. 9 to 24.
The cross will come into Alberta from the Mackenzie-Fort Smith Diocese and spend Nov. 5-9 in the Grouard-McLennan Archdiocese in the northwest. At the end of the month, it will be in the Calgary Diocese Nov. 25-30.
The pilgrim cross' journey across Canada is part of the preparation for World Youth Day in Toronto next July. It is hoped every diocese in the country will have some time with the cross before WYD.
"We are happy and excited to receive the cross, because more than anything else it is the symbol of our hope in the resurrection," said Denise Wilson, St. Paul diocesan youth coordinator.
"The cross is not only a tool for gaining some momentum for the coming WYD," said Bohdan Nahachewsky, eparchial director of Ukrainian Catholic youth. "The coming of the cross is also a great way to concentrate and focus on Christ."
Nicole Brown, of the archdiocesan youth commission, was one of the 47 young Canadians who brought the cross from Rome to Canada in April.
"Sometimes people call the cross, the pope's cross," Brown told the WCR. "It is not the pope's cross, it is our cross because the pope gave it to us."
In 1984, Pope John Paul entrusted a simple cross consisting of two crossed planks of wood to the young people of the world to carry as a symbol of their faith.
This cross now serves as the symbol of World Youth Day. Like the young people who attend WYD, the cross travels around the world and appeals to them to deepen their faith and live it more sincerely.
"The pope has great admiration for the youth and he wanted us all to participate in reaching out to others," said Brown.
Edmontonians will see Catholics process with the cross along Jasper Avenue from St. Joseph's Basilica to St. Josaphat's Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, where the cross will stay overnight Nov. 18-19.
A two-hour celebration with all of the high school students in the archdiocese will be held at the Skyreach Centre, Nov. 19. Participants will be treated to music, dance, Gospel reflection and other speeches about the WYD.
The Skyreach event is not exclusive to young people, although it is expected that the majority of its participants will come from high schools. Parents, grandparents and relatives of the students are welcome to attend.
It is expected 10,000 to 12,000 people including students, teachers and staff and others will flock to the Skyreach Centre.
"We want to reach out to as many young people as possible, especially those who would not be able to attend WYD in Toronto," Brown said.
In the morning of Nov. 19 at the same venue, Cardinal Francis Stafford, head of the Pontifical Council of the Laity and Father Tom Rosica, national WYD coordinator will meet with representatives from Western Canada.
After the Skyreach event, the cross will be taken downtown where many young adults work. A service project in the inner city is also in the works.
The cross will then be taken to the University of Alberta, where various campus ministries will work together to put on a service with it.
For Sheree Drummond, St. Joseph College campus minister, the visit of the cross is highly important.
"I see it as a symbol of connectedness," Drummond told the WCR.
Although preparation at U of A is still in its first phase, organizers are hoping to include ecumenical dimension.
From the university, the cross will be taken to nearby St. Anthony's Church for another overnight vigil.
Outside Edmonton, preparations in small and big parishes are brewing.
In Hobbema, the cross will be a part of a procession involving four aboriginal nations. Special prayers will be offered for the canonization of Blessed Kateri Tekakwita.
A pro-life retreat will be held in Drayton Valley, the highlight of which is the visit of the cross.
"We're hoping for renewal among our young people," said Muriel Hartley. Hartley, who is organizing the pro-life retreat, said the town does not yet have a large group to go to WYD in Toronto.
"When the cross, which is from the Holy Father, comes to us, I hope that people will take interest," she said.
In Olds, the last stopover of the cross in the archdiocese, a young adult retreat is being organized.
Red Deer parishes and neighbouring communities are coordinating a local celebration for Nov. 23.
The cross will travel caravan style followed by people in their vehicles from one town to another.
In preparation for WYD, Holy Rosary Parish on 11485-106 St. is holding an Oct. 9 fundraiser at 7:30 p.m. to sell calendars featuring the photos of the pope taken during the previous world youth gatherings.
In the St. Paul Diocese, the cross will be present at the Nov. 9 ordination of Bishop-elect Luc Bouchard.
On Remembrance Day, it is planned that the cross will be stationed in Cold Lake but due to the present status of military alert, this may not happen.
In Calgary, excitement is also growing as various parishes have asked to host all-night vigils.
On Nov. 25 a handing-over ceremony of the cross by Archbishop Thomas Collins to Bishop Frederick Henry will be held in front of St. Mary's Cathedral.
"The cross is a rallying focal point for the youth," said Susan Suttie, diocesan director of youth ministry in Calgary.
"It is something tangible, an outward symbol of an inward faith," she said.
The youth commission in Edmonton is seeking more volunteers to help with events. Drivers, security, people to carry the cross, sponsorship for gas, and other services are welcome. For more information call (780) 469-6213.
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