Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 24, 2002
Youth Ministry booms at basilica
Drought is over as young people stream to prepare for WYD
By RENATO GANDIA
"I think what's going to happen in Toronto is already happening here."
- Monica Horsman
Christine Baghdady, 41, echoed Jamieson and said, "It's absolutely astounding where we were in September and where we are now, a month away from the WYD."
Having spent so much time, effort and energy in getting to know each other, Baghdady is convinced the effect in the parish is "absolutely phenomenal."
Celia Navarro, 33, stressed, "We have created a venue for the young adults to share their views about the Catholic faith . . . to practise and deepen this faith."
Sister Carmen Monreal raves about the group and said, "This is the best young adult group I've ever worked with."
Jennifer Robin Lee, 26, has been attending Mass at the basilica for over five years. But she did not know any of the young adults nor was she involved with anything at the basilica.
"I thought I wanted to belong to something and I wanted to contribute something to my church since I come here so often. I was searching," Lee told the WCR.
Lee claimed the experience has made her grow as a person and become more patient and loving towards others.
From the spiritual preparations, she learned living a life like Jesus, doing what Jesus did and not just talking about it.
"What I learned the most is not just to read about what Jesus teaches but to go out and live it.
The WYD group "changed my life. I got more godly friends now, than ungodly friends," she said.
"I'm really enjoying the start of my journey in becoming a Catholic."
- Kathy Wegewitz
"It's pretty powerful, because everyone is going to the same place to meet the pope and celebrate our faith."
Stoby wants to prepare himself to be open to whatever happens at WYD, to be able to take in the whole effect of the event.
Bible reading, devotions and other personal preparations are his ways to equip himself mentally and spiritually for this huge event. "I want to get everything I can," the teenager said.
When the group meets every month, it uses the book Salt and Light for their catechetical preparations.
Pamela Hersimenko, 21, doesn't think she can be fully prepared but she is doing the best she can. "I like the Salt and Light book because it helps me relate to my faith on a daily basis."
She is discovering her faith more and is grateful that she had the chance to share it with others. "It's just amazing to be closer to God, to Jesus with other young adults," she said.
Kathy Wegewitz, 26, is not Catholic. She got involved with the group through her roommate Jamieson.
"I just fell for them. They are such a welcoming group. They open their arms and heart to welcome me," Wegewitz told the WCR.
Although at times it's frustrating because she doesn't connect with some things that come along, she understands their faith and belief in God.
In September, Wegewitz will join the RCIA. "I'm really enjoying the start of my journey in becoming a Catholic."
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