Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 29, 2002
WYD Germans love Canada
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Lac St. Anne
A group of 35 German youth who visited the Edmonton Archdiocese in preparation for World Youth Day thinks Albertans are a generous and fun bunch.
The group was introduced to Catholics by Archbishop Thomas Collins at a Mass at the Lac Ste. Anne Pilgrimage July 21. The mostly native congregation welcomed the foreign pilgrims with a prolonged applause and cheers.
The Germans arrived in Alberta July 15 and spent most of their visit in Red Deer, where they took part in several social service projects, including preparing and serving food to the needy at a local soup kitchen. The group also visited Drumheller, Lake Louise and Calgary and arrived in Edmonton July 20. They spent most of July 21 at Lac Ste. Anne and then visited West Edmonton Mall.
In an interview at Lac Ste. Anne, members of the group said they are impressed, not only by the beauty of their host country, but also by the way Albertans treat the needy among them as well as foreign visitors.
"It's incredible how many people offered to take us to their homes," said Isabella Theiss, a 27-year-old teacher from Bavaria, Munich.
The visitors also praised the top-of-the-line facilities available to the needy in the province, as well as Albertans' sense of solidarity with the have-nots. "There are so many volunteers in each of these agencies, it's amazing," said Edward Frohling, a 26-year-old novice with the Pallotine Fathers from Koblenz, near Cologne.
In Red Deer, they volunteered at an agency called Loaves & Fishes serving meals to the needy. "It was interesting to be in contact with the very poor," Theiss said. "These people are very thankful there is a place for them."
The beauty of Alberta's countryside impressed Kathrin Bauer, a 19-year-old Protestant student who lives near Frankfurt. "I like the wide-open spaces," she said.
The group was also impressed by the outpouring of faith at Lac Ste. Anne with Theiss describing the place as a "holy place where native people came to celebrate their faith."
"I like the wide-open spaces."
- Kathrin Bauer
During their visit, the members of the group have become close to each other. "We didn't know each other before we came here," Theiss noted. "Now we have made community with each other. We have become friends."
The visitors said they wanted to go to Toronto to meet the pope and people of other nationalities and cultures. "I want to get to know new people and to get new impressions and to see Toronto," Bauer said.
"I want to take part in this great celebration of the Catholic faith and to meet people from other countries and see how they live out their faith," said Frohling, the Pallotine novice.
"Thank you Canada for inviting us and to our host families for sharing their lives with us."
Accompanying the group was Natalie Tuchscherer, a bubbly Red Deer woman who joked and laughed with the Germans as if she was one of their own.
"These people brought richness to our lives," she said. "They just break into song spontaneously. They were dancing in the bus, singing German songs. I think it's the joy of Christ that comes from them."
Tuchscherer is part of a large delegation of young people from Red Deer currently in Toronto.