Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 2, 2005
Go to World Youth Day - at home
Youth director plans to recreate the WYD experience right here in Edmonton
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
Young Catholics will be able to take part in World Youth Day 2005 even if they can't make it to Cologne, Germany.
That's the word from Will Rowan, an Edmonton youth minister who is helping organize World Youth Days in the Edmonton Archdiocese.
"There will be celebrations taking place in major centres across the world so hopefully this is the biggest local celebration that we've ever had for World Youth Day," he said. "The idea is that we are all celebrating as part of the body of Christ, so there is going to be some unity between what we are doing here in Edmonton and what is going on in Cologne."
In Cologne, activities will take place from Aug. 16 to 21. "So during that week, specifically on the 18, 19 and 20 of August, we are going to be having activities parallelling those in Germany," Rowan said. "World Youth Day isn't just the place where the pilgrimage is set. WYD is actually celebrated every year."
Rowan, coordinator of youth ministry at St. Theresa Parish in Millwoods, is co-chair of the committee planning the WYD@Home events.
To attend the international WYD pilgrimage, one must be at least 18 years of age. That leaves out a lot of enthusiastic young people who are too young to travel on their own.
"But we still want them to celebrate, as well as all the parents, uncles and grandmas and grandpas, little brothers and sisters," Rowan said. "This event is for everyone. So we are hoping that it isn't just young people who come out to this, but people young at heart too. You can be a grandma and come out and celebrate with us."
Activities in Edmonton include a pilgrimage to St. Albert and an all-night prayer vigil similar to the vigil in Cologne.
The Corpus Christi Mass and procession through downtown Edmonton on Sunday, May 29 will mark the beginning of WYD@Home. Right before the Mass there will be an information lunch to inform young people about WYD@Home.
This will be followed by Theology on Tap at the Iron Horse Restaurant and Bar every Tuesday beginning July 12. Several talks in this lecture series will have a World Youth Day focus.
The next step in the celebration will be the send-off Mass for pilgrims going to Cologne at St. Theresa Parish Saturday, Aug. 6. Archbishop Thomas Collins will preside at the 5:30 p.m. Mass.
The kick-off celebration for WYD@Home will be at St. Thomas More Church on the evening of Aug. 18 and will feature music, food and a liturgy.
"Each night is going to be community time where we share a meal or have a wine and cheese," Rowan said.
"And so we meet together and we pray together."
Most activities that will follow will be based on the popular TV series Amazing Race, except that organizers are calling it Amazing Grace. Just like the series, Amazing Grace is also jammed packed with fun, travel opportunities, challenges, roadblocks, detours and prizes.
Follow the clues
How it is going to work?
"Groups of people will be gathering together forming a team and they will have checkpoints throughout the city at different churches, at different agencies, at different historical sites and they'll have to follow clues to get to the next place," explained Rowan.
"This is going to be a two-day long event so on the 18th and 19th there's going to be a race going on for people to get from place to place and within that is going to be an opportunity for service so the teams will have to be in the inner city providing a couple of hours of service at an inner city agency.
"This will allow us to have a service opportunity in a very fun way and also it is going to allow people who are coming in from other cities to get to see some of the historical sites in Edmonton and some of the religious historical sites in Edmonton."
There will also be Stations of the Cross at St. Alphonsus Church on Aug. 19. Organizers are looking at the possibility of holding the Stations of the Cross outdoors.
And on Aug. 20 the pilgrims will head off to St. Albert Parish for an all-night prayer vigil "just like the vigil happening in Germany," Rowan said. "St. Albert Parish is a great place to do (the vigil) because there is so much history of our diocese that's centred around that place. So the main focus of our celebration will be at that vigil there."
Some vigil events include a broadcast of the closing WYD Mass live from Cologne, workshops on the rosary, vespers, music, catechesis and cultural entertainment. The vigil will conclude with an outdoor Mass at the grotto adjacent to St. Albert Church on Sunday morning Aug. 21.
Those participating in the vigil can sleep outdoors or on the floors of St. Albert Church hall. For those who like more comfort, some beds will be available at the Star of the North Retreat Centre.
Welcome home Mass
On Sept. 24, a welcome back Mass will be held for those who participated in WYD both in Cologne and in the Edmonton Archdiocese. "So we are welcoming everyone back and giving them some sort of commissioning so that when they go back to their parishes they can be active in ministry," Rowan said.
For more information on these celebrations or to get involved check out the website www.yam.edmontoncatholic-church.com or email Will Rowan at email@example.com.
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