Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 7, 2002
WYD pilgrims chart brave, new life paths for Christ
Trekking to Toronto opened hearts minds and souls to God's plan.
By RENATO GANDIA
"It's (WYD)the launching pad and not the destination."
- Archbishop Thomas Collins
Meyer and Roffey are but two of the many people who were moved and affected positively by WYD.
Close to 300 pilgrims who were in Toronto attended the archdiocesan gathering graced by the Archbishop Thomas Collins, priests, Janelle Reinhart - official WYD singer, youth ministers among others.
In between music and snacks, WYD pilgrims from different parishes of Drayton Valley, Edmonton, Lloydminster, Red Deer and Villeneuve shared memories and photographs at St. Joseph's Basilica.
WYD archdiocesan coordinator Andrew Papenbrock, said, "We always get nervous with the young people. We don't know if they're coming or not. But what's been amazing is that we have a larger crowd than what we expected."
Papenbrock believes these young people had a genuine encounter with Christ and "they wanted to keep going and they're looking for ways to continue on with that experience."
In his address to the participants, the archbishop said, "WYD is not just an event, but an experience to deepen our faith.
"It's the launching pad and not the destination."
Although pilgrims encountered Christ in this Toronto gathering, Collins emphasized, "We normally encounter Christ in quiet journeys, walking quietly beside us."
The archbishop encouraged the young people to keep the spirit of WYD alive by being involved in the actual life of the parish.
This is what brother and sister Erwin and Ellen Fung are doing.
Erwin, who represented the archdiocese in welcoming the pope, helps out in his parish as much as he can. "I want to help other youth be fired up about Christ and his message."
Ellen, who is a veteran WYD pilgrim having gone to Paris and Rome, explained, saying, "We are basically living our lives as happy young Christian adults and trying to use that as the magnet to attract other youths to the Church as well.
The three-hour reunion culminated with a Mass, presided by the archbishop with seven priests concelebrating. Given the large turnout, Father Len Gartner suggested they hold another similar gathering.
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