Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 27, 2004
Create a WYD retreat mindset
Fr. Rosica, WYD 2002 national director, urges participants to prepare spiritually for WYD 2005 in Germany
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Jenna Power is going to World Youth Day in Germany next year be-cause she says God wants her to go.
The 19-year-old St. Joseph's Basilica parishioner missed WYD 2002 in Toronto due to illness, but last year won a ticket to Germany, which she sees as a clear indication of God's will.
"I'm very excited because I know it's going to be an awesome experience," she said. "I know God wants me there for a reason, otherwise I wouldn't have won the trip and I'm excited to see what he has planned for me."
Power, a first year student at the Hinton campus of the John Paul II Bible School, was one of about 75 young people attending an information meeting on World Youth Day at the Catholic Pastoral Centre Sept. 18.
The meeting featured information on Germany and its culture as well as presentations by Father Thomas Rosica, the national director of WYD 2002 in Toronto and now CEO of the Salt & Light Catholic Television Network, archdiocesan chancellor Greg Bittman and Archbishop Thomas Collins. Representatives of several travel agencies were present at the event.
Power was looking forward to the pilgrimage to Toronto in 2002. She was just turning back to the faith and needed some strong reaffirmation.
But the trip did not materialize. A couple of days before departure she fell ill and couldn't go. Then she attended the first Edmonton rally following the Toronto event and won a ticket to Germany that was raffled at the rally.
"I very much so want to see the pope. He is awesome. I've never known any other pope but we are very blessed to have him and we really need him at this time, especially when the world is turning to ways not of God."
Power is one of about 20 young people from St. Joseph's Basilica that might make the pilgrimage to Cologne.
The World Youth Days, an event designed for young people 18 to 35, will be held in the German city of Cologne next Aug. 11-21.
Up to 300 young people from across the Edmonton Archdiocese may attend the event, noted Andrew Papenbrock, the archdiocese's coordinator of young adult ministry.
The total cost of the trip is $2,100 and includes registration, flight and transportation, insurance, simple accommodation, meals and WYD pass.
"World Youth Days are not a pretext for youth travel nor are they opportunities to raise money to go on trips; that's the byproduct of the World Youth Days," Rosica told the young crowd.
"The deeper thing is that there is a transformation that takes place in all of us; that we really get what I call the Catholic fever.
"The Catholic fever means that we begin to see things in a completely different way."
The most important part of World Youth Days is what happens in the long-term, Rosica said.
"If our preoccupation is only going to be fundraising for the next World Youth Days, which is very important, if we are all caught up with all of that and we forget that WYDays is an entry into a retreat mode, into deep reflection, then we've lost the meaning of WYDays."
World Youth Days is about substance, preparation, faith and big gatherings.
"But the big gatherings mean nothing unless we have done something about growing in our faith," Rosica said.
According to the priest, the 2002 World Youth Day transformed Toronto and showed the world there is another way of existing.
"Toronto is a cold, snobby city. Yet this event touched people to their core," he said. "Sometimes I think it touched secular Toronto even more than it touched some of us in the Church."
It also touched young people like Matt Long, a member of St. Theresa Parish in Millwoods.
"Toronto changed my life," the 20-year-old said. "It helped me rediscover just what the Lord means to me and how important he is in my life."
So meaningful was the experience for Long that he decided to organize the pilgrimage to Germany at St. Theresa so other young people can experience World Youth Day as well. So far he has enlisted seven young people, including himself and his friend Danielle Pahud, 19.
"This will be my first World Youth Day and I'm very excited," Pahud said. "It'll be an opportunity to meet other young people from around the world and to deepen my faith."
Ewa Jasiukiewicz was so impressed with the Toronto pilgrimage she feels she can't miss Cologne 2005. She is one of 20 young people from Holy Rosary Parish getting ready to attend the event.
"Toronto exceeded my expectations," the 20-year-old said, speaking passionately about the incredible feeling of being among tens of thousands of young Catholics from all over the world.
"You had to be there," she said. "It was a wonderful experience."
The event helped Jasiukiewicz to become stronger in her faith and more passionate about God.
She now wants to go to Cologne to relive that feeling and to share her faith with the world.
Germany, with a territory about half of Alberta, has a population of 83 million people, 34-per-cent of whom are Catholic. Cologne, the fourth largest city in Germany, has a population of about 1.8 million people.