Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 29, 2002
Rain drives diocesan celebration indoors
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Rain failed to dampen the spirits of those attending pre-World Youth Day celebrations at Edmonton's Catholic Pastoral Centre July 19.
Wet as they were, pilgrims and other participants in the archdiocese's major Days in the Diocese event quickly moved to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Sherwood Park where they celebrated a joyous, upbeat Mass with Archbishop Thomas Collins.
The outdoor event began at 3 p.m. under sunny skies, but that didn't last. An hour into the activities, and the skies began to turn black and threatening.
But the festivities continued, with about 1,000 participants strolling carefree through the Pastoral Centre grounds, stopping casually to get a hot dog and a drink or to catch some live entertainment.
Live performances, clowns and magicians were all part of the entertainment menu. Children lined up in front of the face-painting tent as they waited to have fun designs coloured on their faces.
At 5:30 p.m., Collins announced the Mass would move indoors. People abandoned the grounds as the skies darkened. Those who stayed behind ran for cover as a powerful thunderstorm swept through the grounds, pouring heavy, cold rain on them.
At Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Collins blessed the 1,000 young pilgrims who were heading for Toronto to celebrate World Youth Day.
"Bless those who are about to begin this pilgrimage, to join other youth from all over the world and to celebrate their life in one Church," he prayed. "Guide them on their way, be their companion and bring them safely to their destination."
In his homily, the archbishop encouraged the travellers to make Jesus the focus of their pilgrimage. "That's what World Youth Day is all about - it's about Jesus," he said. "World Youth Day is for all of us to increase our devotion. If we follow our Lord with devotion, then we are going to find fulfillment in our lives."
Roger Lamoureux, coordinator of youth ministry for the Edmonton Archdiocese, said he was disappointed about the rain but he took it in stride. "A little rain won't dampen our spirits. The spirit here is incredible," he said.
Nick Klanke, 14, said he had a good time talking with other pilgrims at the Pastoral Centre. "It was fun and relaxing for me," he said.
The member of St. Andrew's Parish is going to Toronto with two of his brothers as well as his parents "because I want to see the pope. Probably it will be the last time I will see him on Canadian soil."
Veronica Kennedy of Red Deer's St. Mary's Parish is sending three of her nine children to Toronto. "I'm so grateful to the archbishop for sending them off this way," she said. "I feel part of World Youth Day and I am not even going."
Kennedy's 17-year-old daughter, Tacha, said nothing would ruin her trip. "I'm very excited. I really want to see the pope again," she said, saying she first saw him at the World Youth Day in Rome two years ago.
"I don't know what to expect," Tacha said of the Toronto event. "World Youth Day in Rome was very cool. I'm sure it will be a cool and fun gathering as well."
Rene Rouleau of St. Albert is going to Toronto with the group from Edmonton's St. Andrew Parish. "I'm really excited," he said. "It's going to be an opportunity to see the pope who has been a tremendous role model for us. We are going to show him how much we love him."