Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
December 3, 2001
Tri-parish communities focus on faith, hope, love
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
STETTLER — Faith, hope and love were emphasized as the World Youth Day cross went through Consort, Castor and Stettler, Nov. 22.
"In Consort, a lady said they need hope, as they are going through so many changes with the transformation of the parish," Father Mark McGee told the WCR.
To tie the region together with a theme that binds the three parishes they decided to use the three theological virtues to highlight celebrations.
There are so many ways that faith can be highlighted in Castor as they have a community of religious, a Catholic hospital and a Catholic school, said McGee.
"It is obvious in Castor that there is a faith-filled, dedicated way of taking care of the young, the old, the sick."
"It just fit Castor to talk about faith, faithfulness and vocations."
In Castor, the visit of the cross also had an ecumenical thrust.
There was a significant involvement from the United Church there as well as from the community choir.
"It was a wonderful way to gather people under the cross with the faith that we all share," said McGee.
People from the three parishes bought into the idea when they started thinking about it in terms of the significance of the cross, McGee said. "The cross is about faith, hope and love."
"It really worked . . . because we are such a huge area and it's challenging to bring cohesion to the whole region."
Love was the emphasis when the cross came to Stettler, where it was featured in a concert by an Edmonton-based singer-songwriter, Mark Mallett.
Mallett performed songs about the never-ending love of God and the Christian call to love one's neighbour.
In his songs, he described the kinds of loving relationships he experienced while growing up, starting his own family and renewing his own faith and love for Christ.
After the concert, the youth of Christ-King Parish carried the cross around a park in a candlelight procession.
Some 60 people followed the cross to different stations and to the church, where an over-night vigil was held.
Shelagh Kinderwater, 17 said, "It was amazing that the cross came."
"Oh, it's just mind-blowing because the cross has been travelling all over the world. It's just unreal."
Shelagh will go to Toronto for World Youth Day in July. She has been heavily involved in raising funds to defray expenses for the trip.
"We've started preparing ourselves spiritually because we need to be ready to meet the pope and other young people of the world."
Shelagh's brother, Neil, 16, told the WCR the visit of the cross meant a great deal for him.
"The thing I like about the whole experience is the fact that it came to a small (town) like Stettler. It's just a sign that the pope is reaching out to the Catholics all over the world."
For Neil, the cross's visit is a reminder of "how much the Lord cares and watches over everyone."
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