Last Updated: Wednesday - 01/05/2011
December 3, 2001
Lacombe parish finds hope from Pilgrim Cross
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
LACOMBE — "This is pretty exciting," exclaimed 16-year-old Katharina Specht as other young people lined up in St. Stephen's Church to touch the huge cross standing near the altar.
"Lacombe is a little town but the cross still came here. That shows God cares about everyone. This is so exciting."
The four-metre-high World Youth Day pilgrim cross stopped for a 45-minute prayer service in Lacombe Nov. 23, following stops at Rimbey and Bentley.
Nearly 150 people attended the service which included a brief procession around the church as well as veneration of the cross.
One after another, participants, young and old, came to the front to touch the four-metre tall cross and say a brief prayer in front of it. Some knelt and grabbed the cross with both hands placing their head against the vertical beam. Children looked with awe at the tall cross.
"I'm so excited that I was able to be part of this," said 13-year-old Rachel Watson. "I can't believe it came to Lacombe and I was able to touch it. That shows God really cares about me."
Miranda Colbourne, 17, was one of six young people who came from Sylvan Lake for a chance to be near the cross. They had already attended services in Rimbey and Bentley and were planning to follow the cross to Red Deer.
"We just want to give our prayers to those who are going to World Youth Day," Colbourne said.
She will be baptized a Catholic in April and said being near the Pilgrim Cross gives her "hope that I will join the Church and follow Christ and his teachings."
St. Stephen's youth coordinator Rita Bilash said the parish organized the service "to share in the celebration of the cross and to give the young people here an opportunity to experience what millions of others around the world have experienced."
Ashley Bilash, 15, helped carry the cross in and out of the church and was pretty excited. "I feel privileged to be part of this wonderful thing that's happening across Canada. If I was 18, I would surely go to World Youth Day," she said.
To pastoral administrator Audrey Erickson, the presence of the cross in Lacombe "means Christ was here today and called all of us to renew our commitment. It especially reached our young people, calling on them to follow Christ."
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