Last Updated: Wednesday - 01/05/2011
December 3, 2001
Royal treatment for cross in Olds
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
OLDS — Archbishop Thomas Collins called on Catholics to focus on the simple message of love exemplified in the cross of Christ - love God, love neighbour.
Speaking at a Mass celebrating the visit of the World Youth Day cross here Nov. 24, Collins called the cross a "simple sign of love" whose message Catholics ought to heed.
"Jesus said love God, love neighbour day by day until we die and then we come into his presence. And the only thing we'll have is the love we've given. It's as simple as that," he said.
"And the cross of Christ is a sign of that. The vertical beam speaks to the love of God, the horizontal reaches out to neighbour."
"Make a difference to the lives of those we live with day by day. That's the way of making the love of Christ the King bring light in this world," he advised.
Some 350 people attended the Mass, which was centred around the visit of the Pilgrim Cross to the area. Olds was the cross' last stop after a 10-day pilgrimage through the Edmonton Archdiocese.
Brought into the church in procession by a group of young people, the plain, four-metre high cross left almost immediately after Mass for a brief visit to Trochu. It came back two hours later for an overnight vigil till 8:30 a.m. the next morning, when it was transferred to the Calgary Diocese.
However plain, the cross was given royal treatment across the archdiocese and Olds was no exception. People touched it, prayed at its foot and sang to it.
"It's such a symbol for me, it's overwhelming," said Jayme Morton, 27. "It just means so much to me that the pope would say this cross is for the youth. It's like he trusts us or something."
Morton is one of about 20 youth from the area who have signed up to attend World Youth Day in Toronto next July. "I can't wait to see all the other people my age celebrating together," she said.
Dustin Wahlstrom, 24, feels privileged to have helped carry the cross inside. "I felt very emotional, very close to him," he said. "It's a gift to all of us youth from the pope that's very exciting actually."
Carrying the cross has a lot of symbolism for Natalie Tuchscherer, a Red Deer youth who attended the WYD retreat at Olds. "It's like bearing the sufferings of Christ along with him," she said. "It brings me to a different commitment in knowing that suffering helps my faith to grow."
Amanda Doyle, 17, said the fact the cross came to her town is a sign that God cares about her. "It means he wants me, he's come to call me personally."
To Jennifer Wahlstrom, 21, the cross is a symbol of unity that helps connect people all over the world. "I'm going to World Youth Day next year so it is very special for me to be able to touch the cross on its way there," she said. " It helps me to prepare for that journey that we are going to be taking."
For Jayme Dyjur, 19, the cross represents a gift from the pope to young people. "It's an amazing feeling to have the leader of the Catholic Church send you this symbol of love," he said. "There is a spirit about the cross. It symbolizes the triumph of life over death."
Erik Dahl, 20, found it hard to believe the cross came to Olds. "Just knowing that it came straight from the pope in Rome to my small town and straight into my hands gives you an incredible feeling," he said. "And it feels good to be part of the passing on of it, to keep it going to Toronto."
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