Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 22, 2003
Parish Mass to mark pope's 25th jubilee
St. John the Evangelist Parish draws from across the archdiocese
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
Earlier this year, a family in Ireland put out the word asking others to join them Oct. 16 in celebrating Pope John Paul's 25th anniversary.
St. John the Evangelist parishioner Christine Foisy-Erickson was quick to respond.
With the use of the Internet, the Ryan clan in Ireland posted a Web site (www.jp2-jubilee.org) calling on parishes and the faithful worldwide, to register their appreciation before the pontiff celebrates his silver jubilee.
More than 1,500 parishes in over 61 countries have responded and the numbers continue to climb, Foisy-Erickson says.
"When we (the parish) registered on-line, I had been in contact with Patrick Ryan in Ireland through e-mail. He said that at the time, we were the only parish in Canada registered."
As part of a local committee, she said the reason they got involved was simple.
"We wanted to show this as a sign of solidarity with the holy father, as well as with other Catholics around the world. This is an international event."
Special Masses in every time zone from Fiji to the west coast of Alaska were asked to be considered, as well as thoughtful greetings that will be included in a special leather-bound book to be presented to the pope by Carmelite nuns from Ireland.
"Whether or not it will be accomplished, I don't know but definitely from what I see on the website there are countries all over the world that will be participating," Foisy-Erickson said.
She and her husband handed out fliers at the Catholic Family Conference in August. Everyone was advised that if they couldn't attend the Mass at St. John the Evangelist, they could bring the information back to their parish to see if their priest might choose to join in.
"At the time, people were thrilled," she said. "They were very enthusiastic. They said it was wonderful to be able to celebrate the 25th anniversary."
Foisy-Erickson says a show of solidarity is important because the pope knows there is a lot of dissent in the Church. To receive something like this from people who are behind him, she believes, is not just a simple gesture but a display that people are supporting his doctrine as well.
"This is what we are saying," she said.
"All priests in our diocese are definitely welcome to come and celebrate the Mass. They can do so just by letting the parish know they can attend. It would be wonderful to see them celebrate as our leaders - our shepherds - to show their solidarity with our holy father."
Foisy-Erickson said the current service includes a large image of the pope laminated and mounted, placed on the altar. There will also be 25 candles lit in the church. A luncheon is to be served afterwards.