Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 24, 2002
WYD group builds on serving others
St. Theresa's builds spirituality with service
By RENATO GANDIA
WCR Staff Writer
The spirit of World Youth Day is already spilling over onto Catholics at St. Joseph's Hospital.
Every two weeks or so, the young adult group from St. Theresa's Parish comes for a visit with the patients.
They chat, share snacks, talk about their lives, play cards or board games.
WYD delegates chose this caring for their elders as a service project in preparation for their pilgrimage in Toronto.
And for the residents, the visits means there are others from outside the hospital who are truly interested in them.
Angela Vitale, one of the adult parish WYD coordinators, watches the interaction been the generations and said, "The spirit within the group is very alive. Since I started working with them, my own spirit was renewed and brought me a renewed faith in the young people."
Putting aside the popular conception that youth are self-absorbed, Vitale said, "I think they have come out of their comfort zone, out of their boxes, to be involved in a project like this. The youth are not isolating themselves, but relating to other age groups too."
Zoila Garcia loves to see the residents smile when they come to visit.
"When (the residents) come down, they usually look pretty (sad), but once we interact with them, that changes. I love to see them smile. It feels so good."
This caring draws on Catholic spirituality as well. Says Shannon Cyre, "Doing this is meaningful, because this is what Jesus did. And he is our teacher."
Some, like Carlos Nu¤ez, are surprised at how much they enjoy this ministry.
"It's been more fun than I thought it would be. I thought doing the service project would not be fun at all."
Vitale considers the youth to "be good role models for the young adults in the parish. "They have a devotion and I believe the Holy Spirit is working in this group. They are going to be an incredible asset to any parish they will belong to in the future."
The group has already planned to continue this service project after WYD.
Another important component of the preparation is the spiritual dimension.
Father Martin Caroll and Father Rene Realuyo both gave spiritual talks to the group. Aside from using the book Salt and Light, the youth attended one session of Faith Alive in the parish. They also watched videos about the saints.
Felix D' Souza, the 21-year old parish WYD coordinator, said, "Initially my interest with WYD was to meet other young people of my own religion - see something common among us.
"My view's changed. It is more now about strengthening my faith.
"This group has just been awesome. It's just fabulous. It's magical. Everyone is bonding with each other. It's one of the best things I've ever experienced."
Though small when the group started, it now has 24 people.
Nu¤ez, 19, knows that when they go to Toronto they will be sleeping on a gym floor and he doesn't mind that. "It's a pilgrimage and the spirit of it is by bonding together and doing things together."
Sixteen-year-old Cyre is just as eager. "Everyone who has been to WYD says that it is a life-changing experience. I hope something life changing happens to me and I hope I will always remember it."
She says there will be other people her age, "praying and doing the Catholic things we don't normally do in school. It is going to be fun."