Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 18, 2005
WYD pilgrims rejoice here, in Germany
World Youth Day events mix fun, faith
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
Ellen Fung will be on her fourth World Youth Day pilgrimage this August, but her quest remains the same. There is no other event on earth that thrills her like WYD.
"I go because I always need to fill my spiritual cup. And there I get it in one shot," said Fung, 28.
About 400 people from the Edmonton Archdiocese, including Archbishop Thomas Collins, will travel to Cologne, Germany for WYD 2005. This is double the number from the archdiocese who went to Rome in 2000.
A shared faith
"There are people I meet from around the world with different cultures, but we all share the same faith. This year I'm looking forward to whomever I meet. I will be ready and have fun," Fung said.
Collins is one of some 30 Canadian bishops making the trip. The three Canadian cardinals who took part in the conclave prior to the election of Pope Benedict XVI were chosen as catechists and they will have the opportunity to speak to thousands of pilgrims.
"I'm delighted to be going. It will be my third and I found the other two to be very inspiring events," Collins said. "I don't imagine I will be very close to the new pope but I hope to meet him."
Brandon Andreychuk will turn 19 in Cologne, but it is already his third WYD pilgrimage. He turned 14 in Naples and he celebrated his 16th birthday in Toronto.
In 2002, Andreychuk was fortunate to have been asked to sit on stage near the pope. Andreychuk said the pope seemed old, until he looked into his eyes.
"From a distance he looked tired but being so close, I could tell he was on a cause. His eyes were energized."
For Meghan Verbeek, 17, WYD 2005 is her first pilgrimage. "Two months ago, it seemed so far away and now it's almost here. I don't know what to expect but I've heard stories that it is spiritually moving," she said.
"World Youth Day is a great and encouraging experience of faith," Collins said. "Our archdiocese has always worked to ensure its effects are permanent. Many people in our archdiocese are working on ways not only to send people to Cologne, but for those who remain behind, they can celebrate in a full and wonderful way."
WYD@Home planning committee co-chair Jeanne McKay-Rowan shared an idea with a co-worker in 2,002 to have WYD events in Edmonton. But the idea came a little too late.
"I think a lot of people would like to go, but are held back for whatever reason," said McKay-Rowan, youth ministry coordinator at St. Albert Parish. "The spirit of World Youth Day is not an exclusive party for a few people. It is for everyone to come together to celebrate, not just where the pope is. It is for how the youth are moving and the young at heart to contribute to this wonderful fire that is the Church," she said.
WYD@Home events actually began May 29 with a Corpus Christi Mass and procession at St. Joseph's Basilica. The basilica's WYD youth group was the first to carry the large cross from the cathedral church and lead the procession along Jasper Avenue.
Upcoming WYD activities in Edmonton include the archbishop celebrating a 5:30 p.m. send-off Mass for the pilgrims Aug. 6 at St. Theresa Parish.
On Aug. 18, to coincide with events in Cologne, St. Thomas More Parish will host an evening kick-off celebration featuring food, liturgy and music.
Aug. 18 is also the last day to register for a two-day, city-wide race called Amazing Grace. Like the reality television show, participants will race from site to site, negotiating around road blocks while looking for clues and completing challenges. Amazing Grace goes Aug. 19 and 20. Unlike the show, there is not a million-dollar cache at the finish line.
St. Alphonsus Church will be the scene for Stations of the Cross on Aug. 19. Event coordinator Janet MacLellan said they will pattern the event after activities in Cologne.
"We will have a walk through the neighbourhood at the same time as they do in Germany," said MacLellan.
"We will try to use the same meditations, but try to adapt them to the community."
On Aug. 20, the pilgrims head to St. Albert Parish for an all-night prayer vigil. Those attending can anticipate a live broadcast of the closing WYD Mass from Cologne, workshops on the rosary, vespers, music, catechesis.
Pilgrims can sleep under the stars or on the floors of St. Albert Church hall. Some beds will be available at the Star of the North Retreat Centre.
If a busload of out-of-town youth is coming to the vigil and will require a church basement to sleep in, they can call McKay-Rowan at 459-6691.
The vigil will conclude Aug. 21 with an outdoor Mass at the grotto beside St. Albert Church.
Christine Pouliot, 27, is a kindergarten teacher at St. Gerard School. Going to Cologne will be her first exposure to WYD.
"I want to go and learn, but I want to seek and experience what other people do. I know there is a lot of hype about it, but I want to go and soak it all in," Pouliot said.
"When John Paul passed away, there was no scare that World Youth Day would be cancelled because it is not based around him," McKay-Rowan said.
For more information about local events see www.yam.edmontoncatholic-church.com/.
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