Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 10, 2003
Rosica honoured for role in WYD
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
A two-hour discussion on World Youth Day 2002 at the annual plenary assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops was capped off with the presentation of a papal award to Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, the event's national director.
Archbishop Luigi Ventura, the apostolic nuncio in Canada, presented a Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal to Rosica Oct. 28 following a standing ovation for the priest by the more than 70 bishops at the conference.
The special award is for individuals who have given outstanding service and have shown great dedication to the Catholic Church and to the pope.
In announcing the award, Bishop Jacques Berthelet, president of the CCCB, called Rosica, of Toronto, "the motivator, soul and the producer, in a way, of World Youth Day 2002."
Rosica has said what was accomplished at the international Catholic Church event "is not to be attributed to him alone, but to the team that he put together, as well as the World Youth Day council and the many individuals who collaborated," said Berthelet. "But we must add that this team was chosen by Father Rosica himself, he inspired it, he supported it, all the way down to the smallest details."
Many people thought World Youth Day 2002 should be produced by "experts for young people," said Rosica in his acceptance remarks. "But we couldn't follow that. I knew it had to be for young people and by young people."
Rosica said 410 people from 38 cities in Canada and from 40 countries in the world worked on the staff of WYD 2002 and that the majority were youth.
"The greatest thrill of my life - I'll never have anything like that again, for sure - was the privilege of being with those young men and women, some of the most generous human beings I've ever seen."
As well, youth from each of the four regions spoke about their experiences at WYD, each of them having nothing but praise for the celebration.
"World Youth Day gives meaning to people's lives and that's why World Youth Day has to continue to exist," said Roxanne Sirois, a university student in nearby Trois Rivieres. "World Youth Day changes a life because it proves to us to what extent we are not alone and how faith can contribute enormously."
Marcel Denis of Dieppe, N.B., said he and several others who went to WYD have formed a committee that is involved in trying to bring "more young people of our age to the Church and showing thusly that the Church is something very interesting, and that religion is something very interesting."
Jennifer Kolz of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., told the bishops "In July 2002 you witnessed youths' presence in Toronto yourselves. The next step now is to simply listen to the objectives and dreams they have for their futures within it." She added, "We've been told over and over again that we are the leaders of tomorrow but I'm finding more and more that tomorrow has arrived and that we aren't necessarily leading the way."
For five days, the world was watching Toronto, said Bernard Alibudbud of Winnipeg. "It wasn't just a big Catholic party as some in the media put it. More importantly for me, it was a chance for the youth in my parish to learn and share with each other in their own parish community."