Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 14, 2005
Spirited teens prepare for World Youth Day
Student helps friend raise funds while she will stay at home
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
Anastacia Bondaruk's first flight on an airplane will have to wait.
The spirited Grade 12 student at Austin O'Brien High School will only be able to stand and wave goodbye to the 250 people scheduled to depart from Edmonton this August for World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany.
She does not have enough money to go. Although disappointed, this has not stopped her from participating in various school and parish fundraising activities so that her best friend can afford the trip.
With Jocelyn McKenna, Anastacia helped organize a bake sale at the school, creating 10 hand-drawn posters. She also made dozens of cookies and cupcakes. They were carrying out a suggestion put to them by Jocelyn's mother, Patricia.
"I'm helping out to support Jocelyn," Anastacia said. "I think this is important because it will help bring the entire (Catholic) faith together, especially the children who are so deep in their faith. I want to give them the most that they can get."
Anastacia lost her father four years ago. She recently moved into the McKenna home. She now attends Mass regularly with the McKenna family at Assumption Church.
She says her younger sister had a difficult time after their father died. She is hoping that the steps she takes further into her Catholic faith will serve as an example for her sibling.
"Ana is such a wonderful person. She has a really big heart," said Patricia McKenna, who thanked Assumption Parish and Father Clem Gauthier for fundraising support. The youths recently held a bottle drive and a raffle through the parish.
"I'm looking forward to going to Germany, hopefully to see the pope and to be with other Catholic kids," Jocelyn said. "It will be a really good religious experience."
Whether or not the pope is present to celebrate WYD, Andrew Papenbrock says the purpose for the event is to gather in celebration of Christ.
"The first person to tell you that WYD is about an encounter with Christ is the pope," said Papenbrock, assistant director of archdiocese's youth and young adult ministry. "He has said he hopes the focus is not necessarily on him being there."
Papenbrock is pleased with the number of people planning to attend the Aug. 16-21 event.
"It is a large number to be heading overseas. The parishes and the young adults have taken upon themselves the responsibility of getting organized. They are also preparing spiritually," Papenbrock said.
"They understand this is not just a trip to Europe, but a spiritual pilgrimage."
Anastacia wished she could go. "Since I started going to church, I've wanted to get involved," she said. "The McKennas have begun to show me my faith."
Anastacia was raised Catholic, but never baptized. She hopes to continue in her faith and eventually receive the sacrament.
"I'm happy to just be a part of this because the McKennas have done so much for me," she said.
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