Last Updated: Wednesday - 01/05/2011
November 26, 2001
Ambassadors of the Cross
Sherwood Park charges student reps to take spirit of the cross to their schools
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
SHERWOOD PARK — Catholics here welcomed the World Youth Day Pilgrim Cross with a public prayer service.
Some 100 people, including close to 50 students representing eight Catholic schools in Sherwood Park, gathered for the 90-minute service at Festival Place, the town's community theatre.
Driven in a Catholic Social Services van, the four-metre-tall wooden cross arrived at Festival Place Nov. 20.
The congregation welcomed it with prayers and hymns as well as a rendition of the Stations of the Resurrection. The rendition, basically a reading around each of the stations, was done by students with responses from the public, mostly area parishioners.
At the service, Msgr. Jack Hamilton, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, and Deacon Paul Kavanaugh, a guest at the service, commissioned the students to go back to their schools to spread the message of the cross.
In keeping with the World Youth Day theme - You are the Light of the World and the Salt of the Earth - students were given a candle and a container of salt to take back to their schools.
They also received a WYD scroll to be signed by students in each school in support of those who will attend World Youth Day in Toronto in July next year.
"We are commissioning you to share what you experienced today with the rest of the students," Kavanaugh told the teens. "Share with others the joy of the World Youth Day cross."
Mark Isinger, 15, who represented home school students at the service is happy he attended because he is going to Toronto next summer and "wanted to see the cross myself.
"The cross is almost like a movie star," he said. "So many different people have seen and touched it. It's really neat to see it here in Sherwood Park. It makes me feel proud that I am a Catholic."
Veronica MacInnis, 14, a Grade 9 student at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, was curious about the cross and could not miss the opportunity to see it first hand.
"I'm amazed," she said. "The whole world has seen it and now it is here in Sherwood Park. To me, it is a symbol of unity, something that gathers the whole world together."
To 14-year-old Erin Prinoslo of St. Theresa School, the cross is "a symbol of Catholic faith." The fact it has been in all corners of the globe "makes you think of how many people believe in Jesus," he said. "I'm happy I had a chance to see it."
Kavanaugh said the service was a great example of the Church coming together "to share in the joy of the World Youth Day cross, one of the great witnesses of our faith."
He said the commissioned students are ambassadors of the cross in their schools. Most will share what they experienced in the service in special assemblies or over the schools' PA systems.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help School was to organize a celebration in each of its classrooms, with the celebrations being led by the four students who attended the service.
The visit of the cross to Sherwood Park "indicates to us in a concrete way that we are in fact part of the universal Church," Msgr. Hamilton said.
"It means that Sherwood Park, although small in the overall scheme of things in terms of Church membership throughout the world, is valued along with larger centres like Toronto or Vancouver."
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