Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
November 26, 2001
Students reflect on the cross
Way of the Cross draws puzzled reactions on campus
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — Maripaz de Luna, 21, was encouraged to evaluate her relationship with Jesus when she joined in the campus procession of the pilgrim World Youth Day cross at the U of A.
"Yes we were carrying the cross around the campus but it had me reflect on whether I am really living the cross," de Luna told the WCR.
"It was a blessing that we have the cross here, but it also was a real eye opener for me to question how am I witnessing to the value of the cross in my life."
On its visit at the university, Nov. 19, the cross was processed around the campus where it stopped at key locations.
The procession began at St. Joseph's College entrance and was carried to the Universiade Dove, to the Montreal Massacre Memorial, Central Academic Bldg., Power Plant entrance, business building, around the HUB building then back to St. Joseph's College.
At every stop prayers were recited and while processing, songs referring to the cross were sung.
Close to 100 participants prayed for an end to war and discrimination, for the harmony of all nations, for love among Christians, for the spirit of ongoing conversion of life, and for the gift of the redemption in Christ.
While moving around the campus, some people simply looked, others wondered what was happening, while others simply shrugged their shoulders.
"Maybe they have not been exposed to it, that's why they reacted that way," de Luna said.
"Being out there as Christians maybe we haven't really lived what it means to be followers of Christ," said the education student from St. Andrew's Parish.
De Luna is convinced that the young people have the ability and power to witness to the value of cross for Christians.
Together with other students, Pattie Clark, 25, helped carry the cross and lead the prayers. Clark, a linguistics major, appreciated that some Lutheran students took part in the procession.
"It was really cool that we are unified and together in this endeavour. Carrying the symbol of our faith around the campus was just awesome."
Clark, who will attend WYD in Toronto, was proud to carry the cross around the campus.
For her it was like telling everyone, "Hey! We are Christians. We are together and take a look at this. It is something amazing and we need to join together."
Clark will be married two weeks before the Toronto event. Thus, she and her future husband plan to extend their honeymoon on a pilgrimage to the world youth gathering.
Sheree Drummond, director of campus ministry and student services, told the WCR that there was excitement preparing for the visit of the cross.
"But there was a little bit of anxiety, because it's a kind of event that we had no idea what kind of turnout we would have."
Students were involved in putting together music, programs and other details. The students also spread the word that the cross was coming to generate as much interest as possible on campus.
Inclusiveness was an important part of their preparations. "We want this to be an event that appeals to all Christians on campus because this is the reality of our environment," Drummond said.
Although the cross was toured only outside the buildings, Drummond believes that it was a symbolic attempt to capture the entire university community.
Music major Jessica Heine, 20, played guitar during the procession.
Heine, who belongs to the university's Lutheran community, said the prayers were very appropriate especially with what has been happening in the world.
Stephen Fairfield is one student who carried the cross.
"It was just incredible. The WYD cross is something, which is hard to explain unless you've seen it."
The participants welcomed Cardinal Francis Stafford, Archbishop Thomas Collins and Father Tom Rosica at the college chapel, where the cross was stationed after the procession.
Silent adoration followed as pilgrims spent time in personal prayer. Before transferring the cross to St. Anthony's Church on Whyte Avenue a prayer service was celebrated at the chapel.
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