Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 9, 2002
WYD brought us together for fellowship
By MIRANDA SOKALSKI
I was part of a seven-member group from St. Martin's Roman Catholic Church in Vegreville. My sister Mykaela, four other congregation members and I had spent the previous year preparing for our pilgrimage, both financially and spiritually.
The seventh member of our group, Brice, was flying in from Texas to spend the week with us. He has been my pen pal since I was 15 years old, and now, five years later, he was finally coming to Canada and I was going to meet him in person! Excited? You bet I was!
I spent the year leading up to World Youth Day anticipating three things - meeting throngs of people from countries worldwide, seeing the pope and eventually meeting a pen pal I feel I grew up with. As my group snaked through the diverse crowds in a human chain, attempting to catch a glimpse of Pope John Paul, I suddenly realized that all three components had come together.
An incredible joy overtook me, and it was compounded by the fact that my best friend (my sister) was there to share it all. What more could I want?
It was then that the reason for World Youth Day became clear to me. We had been called to Toronto for fellowship. By being together, there was tangible evidence for us as individuals - and for the world - that we are not alone in our love for the Lord.
Sometimes in everyday life, it is difficult to find others who share such zeal for God and life. However, in Toronto, I was reminded that there are millions of Christian crusaders in the world, from all walks of life. It is important that we continue to share our lives with other people, to see Jesus in each other as we grow closer to God.
It seems like most of us went to Toronto expecting a tremendous, outstanding event that would reaffirm our faith. As a collective group, however, we eventually came to a conclusion. We realized that we were not there for one big bang that would jolt us immediately into heaven. We spent the first few days looking for something huge to jump out at us.
Reflecting on the week, though, we decided that it was the little things that had the biggest impact on us. Riding on packed subways, getting lost in a sea of Italians, visiting with sociable Torontonians, and even wallowing in the mud together on Sunday morning are what made the trip the spectacular event that it was.
While we were there, we were building community. The highlight of the entire week was being with friends - old and new. We were given the gift of fellowship in Toronto, and that left us with wonderful memories that will last forever.