Last Updated: Wednesday - 01/05/2011
November 19, 2001
Cross welcomed to archdiocese
Hinton students gain first glimpse of WYD cross
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
HINTON — Nicole Kinch, 16, had only seen the pilgrim World Youth Day cross on television. But it made a big difference when she saw and touched it in person on Nov. 14.
"It's a different kind of experience just to think that the cross has been to different
places in the world," Kinch told the WCR. "People coming together and seeing our community united in welcoming the cross is an awesome experience."
Visiting the Archdiocese of Edmonton until Nov. 23, the Pilgrim Cross had its first stop in Our Lady of the Foothills Parish in Hinton.
The cross will visit every region of the archdiocese during the 10 days. A major highlight will be the Godiseum Rally at Edmonton's Skyreach Centre Nov. 19 that is expected to draw 12,000 high school students from across the archdiocese.
The cross will stop in 39 centres in the archdiocese. The visit is being coordinated with the Edmonton Ukrainian Eparchy.
Hinton parishioners received the cross early in the morning as it was driven by a Catholic Social Services van from Whitecourt in the St. Paul Diocese.
Father Brian Inglis presided at a Mass with the cross during its three-hour visit to the parish.
At Gerard Redmond Community Catholic School (GRCCS), where the cross was brought after the Mass, Inglis told the high school students, "Accept your Christian Catholic faith from which you can draw the meaning of your life."
Nathan Mantin, Grade 11, is happy that the first stop of the cross in the archdiocese was in his hometown.
The coming of the cross to Hinton reminded Mantin how he can follow Christ in his everyday life. "It is a profound reminder of our faith in Christ and how we can grow in our faith."
The pilgrim cross was walked around the school. It passed through the corridors as students were watching and singing before it was brought to the school's gymnasium, where a Liturgy of the Word was celebrated.
For Mantin, the walking of the cross around the school was a powerful experience. "It reminded me of Christ's death on the cross and how he walked with the cross to his death," Mantin said.
"He died on the cross for our sins and for his great love for us," he added.
The celebration held in the school affected the students positively. Like other students it was the first time that Marc Macridis saw the cross in person.
"The lighting of the candles with the cross in our midst, made it feel more different than other celebrations we've done," Macridis said.
Religious education coordinator Louis Kloster organized the school celebrations.
"There was a lot of excitement (preparing for the celebration) especially with the students not having known very much about the WYD or the Pilgrim Cross before," Kloster told the WCR.
As teachers began talking about the event and teaching students the songs for the rally, the students felt privileged that the cross was coming to their school. Teachers tapped the leadership abilities of the Grade 12 students for the rally.
"They expressed a great deal of enthusiasm and I think that such can be very infectious," Kloster said. It encouraged "the rest of the students to express their faith and their joy."
Kloster sees students at the school wearing crosses everyday. "It's a very powerful symbol of our faith but the fact is that this cross, which has been sent by the pope, helps our students to understand just how worldwide our faith is."
Michael Rosmer, 18, had been to three WYD gatherings. He was nine years old when he first attended with his family in Denver. At 13, he went to Paris and when he was 16, he was in Rome with other young people from the parish.
Rosmer related his experience to the students and encouraged them to attend the event in Toronto.
"Having many people, who are the same as you are, is a very enriching experience," he said.
Teacher Sylvie Brendel will attend WYD in Toronto. She is very much involved in all the preparations in the school and parish.
For her Grade 7 students, it was an awesome experience seeing the cross for the first time and praying with everybody in the school.
"I think the cross was cool but I did not think it was that big though," said Melissa Robson.
Marni Wright, WYD coordinator for the parish, said she felt astounded that her small town was privileged to welcome the cross.
"It's seventh heaven here, that we are the first ones to welcome the cross in the archdiocese," Wright told the WCR.
In Hinton, there is a spirit of excitement and the young people are proud that they are Catholic, said Wright.
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