Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
November 26, 2001
A people on the march
Congregation takes to the streets after Collins asks them to spread light of Christ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — For both Ukrainian Catholics and Roman Catholics, Nov. 18 was a night to remember.
After a Vespers service at St. Joseph's Basilica, the World Youth Day cross was carried in a candlelight procession to St. Josaphat's Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral.
About 1,000 people marched from the basilica at Jasper Avenue and 113th Street to the cathedral at 108th Avenue and 97th Street chanting, singing and glorifying Jesus Christ and the cross.
Cars honked as people from their apartments waved at the pilgrims.
Every time the cross was lifted people cheered and made joyful noise, boldly expressing their Christian faith.
In his homily during Vespers at the cathedral, Bishop Lawrence Huculak emphasized the display of unity among Catholics of Eastern and Western rites.
"The cross unites us first and foremost to the glory of Christ's resurrection," Huculak told a packed cathedral.
He noted the coming together of Catholics as a gesture of unity between the eparchy and the archdiocese and with Pope John Paul through the representation of Cardinal Francis Stafford.
Huculak encouraged the people to stay and pray with the cross, which remained in the church the entire night.
"The cross is telling us to stay here and keep watch with me, watch and pray as Jesus asked his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane."
At St. Joseph's Basilica, Archbishop Thomas Collins, reminded the people of the Christian mission to spread the message of Christ.
The cross of Christ is the light that shines throughout the world, although in the secular world "the cross is the sign of darkness and failure."
"But through Christ's suffering, the cross was transformed into a sign of light and hope," said Collins.
"We are a people on the march . . . to spread the light of Christ, that's our mission that gives joy and meaning to our life."
The celebration at the basilica was highlighted by the lighting of a thousand candles for the procession to the cathedral.
Catherine Batty, 19, from St. Josaphat processed with the cross from the basilica.
"It was calming but exciting and uplifting," she told the WCR. "Every time the cross was lifted it was as if you were seeing Jesus rise above everybody."
For Catherine, the experience "unified the Catholics completely."
"You were walking with somebody different the whole entire time and it was just exciting." Everyone was singing while walking.
"I love the lines 'Shout from North to South and sing from the East and West' and that's what we were doing."
"We were shouting all across Edmonton that we love Christ," Catherine said.
Catherine and her friends were proud to shout they love Jesus to the people watching from their apartments. "The people of Edmonton accepted it, and it was just awesome."
Catherine's sister, Elizabeth, 17, said of the experience "You were there with others, hand in hand, hip to hip walking down the street. It was so much fun."
Rebecca Santos, 29, is from Bicol, Philippines. She had the chance to venerate the cross when it came to the Philippines in 1995.
She was silently sobbing after she again venerated the cross at the cathedral.
"I was just overwhelmed that I saw it again," Santos told the WCR. "The way people (venerated) the cross in this church reminded me of how we did it at home."
Stephen Bodnar, 22, walked with his friend. "It was a great experience walking with people who have the same belief as you."
"It was great for once to show society that we're the Catholics and we're not afraid to show our beliefs and our religion."
Nicole Coulombe attended World Youth Day in Denver, but with two small children now, she won't be going to Toronto. The Denver experience "changed my focus in life," she said.
She was pleased with the procession. "The devil is becoming less settled so I think Jesus has to be proclaimed as dramatically. He's got to be seen."
Jacek Clearczyk will attend the Toronto WYD. The procession with the cross "is showing people that youth in Edmonton care about Jesus and they're preparing to meet the pope in Toronto," he said.
Joyce Chrunik-Rudiak led the children's choir of St. Nicholas in their participation in the solemn vespers at the cathedral.
When the choir sang the Lord's Prayer in Ukrainian, people's attention was drawn to them as their angelic voices filled the church.
"I think what the children experienced tonight will help them develop their spiritual life," Chrunik-Rudiak told the WCR.
Joyanne Rudiak is a member of the children's choir and joined in the procession from the basilica to the cathedral.
She is only 12 years old but she understands the significance of the pilgrim cross. "It's holy and it's special," Joyanne told the WCR.
Her friend, Christina Mandrusiak, 12, walked with her. "When I was walking I just felt peace, I felt God was there, it was so meaningful."
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