Last Updated: Wednesday - 01/05/2011
November 12, 2001
Cross ready to roll through Archdiocese
Youth play key roles in Pilgrim Cross tour
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — High school students are taking a key role in organizing next week's Godiseum Rally that will be the highlight of the World Youth Day Pilgrim Cross's visit to the Edmonton Archdiocese.
More than 12,000 young people and adults, including students from all Catholic high schools in the archdiocese, are expected to attend the rally at the Skyreach Centre on the morning of Nov. 19.
"We are going to have heavy involvement of the young people, who are going to witness to the value and the meaning of the cross in their lives," said Marc Barylo, steering committee chair.
From coming up with the name of the rally to acting as master of ceremonies to the production numbers and to the minutest details, students have been involved.
Two student leaders were chosen from each of the Catholic high schools in Edmonton, St. Albert, Fort Saskatchewan, Conseil Scolaire Centre-Nord and Sherwood Park to be members of the steering committee. Other students were asked to be part of the sub-committees working on various details of the rally.
The Pilgrim Cross is currently touring northern Alberta and will arrive in the Edmonton Archdiocese at Hinton on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
Before it enters the Calgary Diocese 11 days later, the cross will have visited 39 centres in every region of the archdiocese. The cross pilgrimage is being coordinated with the Edmonton Ukrainian Eparchy.
The cross will be at native-led celebrations in Enoch, Edmonton and Hobbema, all-night vigils at St. Josaphat's Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral and St. Anthony's Church in Edmonton, a university student celebration at St. Joseph's College of the University of Alberta and a weekend youth retreat at St. Stephen's Church in Olds.
There will be an evening celebration at St. Joseph's Basilica and a candlelight procession from the basilica to St. Josaphat's.
But the event drawing the biggest crowd will undoubtedly be the Monday morning celebration at the Skyreach Centre.
Cardinal Francis Stafford, head of the Pontifical Council of the Laity, Archbishop Thomas Collins and Edmonton Oilers' GM Kevin Lowe will celebrate with high school students at the rally.
Kelsey Speakman, 17, was nervous when she first joined the steering committee for the Godiseum Rally. Her nervousness has been replaced by excitement.
"I believe (the cross) is like the Olympic torch of the WYD. It is so fitting for evangelization and to help the people prepare for the big event in Toronto," Speakman told the WCR.
For Speakman, a Grade 12 student at Louis St. Laurent, the cross is a sign of Jesus' love and sacrifice. "Personally, it also presents a challenge for us to offer sacrifices for the people around us."
Internationally acclaimed rock band, Gabriel's Harp, as well as local Edmonton young music groups will be playing music for the rally.
Gabriel's Harp performed for the pope during WYD in Rome last year.
The music that various groups will perform "is important for the young people to identify with and to feel that this is really meant for them and that spirituality and religion can be meaningful," said Barylo.
Some 120 students representing about 30 high schools in the archdiocese will bring up the cross in a dramatic fashion.
About 60 young people will be involved in bringing up footprints, representing social action activities that students are performing in school and in the community.
The footprints will be pasted unto a 22-foot-high white, hard plastic cross created courtesy of St. Joseph's High School.
Each participating school was also asked to prepare a two-minute video focusing on the meaning of the cross in their lives and also to illustrate the uniqueness of their school.
An event of this magnitude "is a bit of a logistical nightmare," said Barylo.
Sandra Talarico, chaplain at Louis St. Laurent, agreed. "It's been a challenge making plans on how to get all the (students) there, to be there at right time and they're coming from all over the diocese."
Talarico appreciates the support the steering committee received from the schools to encourage the students to come. "Teachers have been very supportive to give up that day to have the (students) come."
"It's been awesome. It's been a wonderful reminder for me about how gifted our students are because (they) are so enthusiastic and have a strong love of God," Talarico told the WCR.
The rally's steering committee, which has the mandate to plan, market and execute programs, is composed of 30 youth and 10 adults.
Like other schools, Louis St. Laurent allowed some of its student leaders to be heavily involved in the preparations.
Andrew Heikkila, 17, a student leader from this school, is a member of the steering committee.
For him, the cross "symbolizes more than just words because it is the ultimate sign of our faith."
Cheryl Fisher, 17, sees the cross as the "symbol of the sacrifice that Jesus has made for us."
"It represents Jesus in his dying for our sins and his deep love for us."
Hugo Martell, 15, agreed and said "It is a symbol of God's love for all of us and how much faith Jesus Christ has and how much we should have as well."
Martell will perform a rap number with the message, "Listen to God, feel the joy and love of Jesus."
Leah Hackman, 15, and Jakub Limanowka, 16, appreciated the chance they had to interact with students from other schools.
"The cross is a reminder for me that there is God," said Hackman. "But what makes these preparations exciting was that I was able to connect with students from other schools working on different committees."
For Limanowka, the cross "represents our respect for the sacrifices that Jesus Christ made for us and a reminder that we are also called to make sacrifices."
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