Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 29, 2002
Ottawa says good-bye to World Youth Day pilgrims
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
Almost 4,500 World Youth Day 2002 pilgrims from around the world ended their four-day visit to the nation's capital with thunderous applause for organizers, singers, liturgical dancers, musicians and concelebrating bishops at a spectacular closing Mass at the Ottawa Civic Centre.
With them at the celebration, which was open to the public, were more than 1,500 others.
Archbishop Marcel Gervais was the main celebrant at the Mass, held July 21 on one of three stages erected for the Days in the Diocese events.
During their time in Ottawa, the pilgrims took part in an eight-hour youth festival at Landsdowne Park that included Celtic Christian rock music, drummers from Burundi, a performance by native dancers and drummers and high-energy alternative Christian rap and rock music.
They also visited Parliament Hill to view the changing of the guard and took part in a Taize prayer service.
"I have watched with great anticipation the energy of the Spirit, the power of the Gospel being lived and shared among youth," said Gervais at the opening of the Mass. "Thank you for your presence in our archdiocese. You have been a blessing for us."
In his homily on the main stage - where a mock "tower of Babel" had been erected - the archbishop warned that the powers of Babel are always "threatening to make us all the same, doing all the same things, the same way."
He added, "We are human beings, we are creative, inventive. We are different from one another, but the same in one thing - we need love, love that is true, that is genuine."
He reminded the youth temptations are everywhere. "The manipulator is always present and makes the bad road look good and the good road look bad."
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