Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 15, 2002
Native youth eager for WYD
More than 70 people from local reserves slated to go to Toronto
By RENATO GANDIA
The pope "brings the message of hope in a world that doesn't have a lot of hope."
- Angela Andrejczuk
"It's a wonderful feeling to be in the presence of the Holy Father."
Kootenay agreed and said, "I think it's very meaningful. But when I look at things, especially those that are spiritual, this visit of the pope is something that we won't fully understand."
"For me the WYD and the coming of the pope to Canada will heighten our celebration of faith. This is also meaningful for us because to some extent we will be representing the native people."
While the group from Hobbema, Ponoka and Wetaskiwin is only starting its monthly retreat and mini-pilgrimages as part of its spiritual preparation, the Enoch group is well underway.
The group meets every first Friday of the month for Mass, where they reflect and share on different themes using the book, The Salt and Light.
Andrejczuk said, "The response of the people is incredible. The church gets full like it's a Sunday Mass."
Weekday Masses at Our Lady of Mercy Parish are usually held in the small chapel but since the preparation for the WYD started, Mass has been celebrated in the main church.
"The pilgrim WYD cross sparked the fire because the whole parish is interested in everything about the event," said Andrejczuk. "Parishioners witness how this parish is really coming alive."
Cornelio said, "The parishioners in Hobbema did not expect that the cross will come and visit."
"The people saw this as a sign that Jesus has not forgotten them, thus interest in the WYD increased."
For Kootenay spiritual preparation is imperative. "Prayer is always number one in our spiritual walks."
With this conviction he goes back to the example given by Jesus in Sacred Scripture that prayer is essential to every journey.
The Enoch group has also started a service project. With the help of its parish priest, Father Andrzej Stendzina, it will build a grotto resembling the one in Fatima.
The service project has become a project of the parish with participation of every family who comes to join in clearing the ground and preparing for the construction.
All is set for the Enoch group. There is only one thing that they are waiting for: the approval that their drum group can perform for the pope.
Kootenay said they made a request to the WYD secretariat in June 2001 to sing for the pope. They still have not heard from the secretariat as their video presentation got lost and did not reach the national office.
Nakquita Williams, 16, is attending the WYD for the first time. "It's the pope and meeting other young people from other countries that motivate me to attend the WYD."
"It's really neat to have a whole bunch of people together and share our faith."
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