Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 11, 2005
Prayer for pope at vigil of light
Dove from papal Mass was site for time of prayer
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Jesus Christ is the light of the world, light no darkness can overcome. We gather as children of the light in this time of darkness and pray that our brother John Paul II will be welcome into the kingdom of light and peace."
Led by Archbishops Thomas Collins and Joseph MacNeil, a crowd of more than 1,000 people prayed for the repose of the soul of Pope John Paul at the Papal Dove April 4.
"Father, in your wise and loving care you made your servant Pope John Paul II pope of all your Church. He did the work of Christ on earth. May your Son welcome him to eternal glory."
The prayer vigil included singing of hymns and the recitation of the Mysteries of Light, which Pope John Paul added to the rosary.
Young people, favourites in Pope John Paul's book, organized the celebration and participated in the prayers. They kicked off the event with a procession of the cross, using a replica of the World Youth Day cross that crisscrossed Canada prior to the Toronto WYD three years ago.
The Papal Dove near the Muttart Conservatory is a reminder of the pope's first visit to Edmonton. The dove's 17-metre wingspan was first erected in a farmer's field near Namao for a Mass during his 1984 visit.
"Each one of us is called to let the Light of Christ shine, not in the world of lightness, but in the world that is too often dark with violence, dark with hatred and loneliness, dark with physical evil, dark very much with the power of the culture of death which John Paul spoke so bravely about," Collins told the crowd as dark began to set in.
"The Holy Father himself in his own life struggled against the darkness of the Nazis, Hitler, Stalin - all that human darkness which leads to evil."
Collins said we are all candles in the midst of darkness. "But we get our light from Christ and we are here to make this world bright, perhaps not with the extraordinary gift with which the Lord showered upon our beloved Holy Father but in our life, in our example, to be faithful disciples and let the light shine."
Collins reminded his audience that the gathering was not simply to remember the pope "but to pray for the repose of his soul and to pray that the Lord God will help each one of us to shine brightly, to burn brightly in our life, to let the light of Christ be bright in our own hearts and to share with others by the way in which we live as faithful disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ."
Many in the audience were young people who have seen their lives transformed by the pope and saw the event as their best chance to pay their last respects.
"I came here to pray for the pope and to celebrate his life," said Melissa Villeneuve, 25, who participated in World Youth Day in Toronto. "He is the pillar of the Church and the pillar of my faith. He is a good example to all Christians in the world."
Even though Sandra Feyco, 30, only got a glimpse of the pope during his first visit she still grew to admire him.
That's why she attended the prayer vigil. "I think he was an excellent diplomat who had an appeal across the board because he could approach a wide scope of humanity," she said.
"Even though he was an old person he reached out to young people and to the whole world."
A memorial Mass for Pope John Paul will be held at St. Joseph's Basilica Monday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m.
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