Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of August 29, 2005
Largest Canadian WYD delegation goes to Cologne
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
The largest Canadian delegation ever to attend a World Youth Day (WYD) outside of Canada has returned from Cologne, Germany where several Canadian youth got a chance to speak personally with the pope.
Almost 7,000 Canadian pilgrims participated in WYD 2005, the largest delegation ever to attend the celebration since its founding in 1985, with the exception of WYD 2002 in Toronto.
Seven of the 30 Canadian bishops in attendance taught catechesis sessions at World Youth Day.
The Canadians also took part in a closing Mass that drew a million people who had camped out at a field near Cologne, braving unseasonably cool weather.
Three Canadian youth were among those to greet Pope Benedict XVI when he arrived in Germany Aug. 17.
Saskatoon resident Amy Boskill, a member of the International Liturgy Group, said a few words in English to the pope, welcoming him to Cologne.
Andrew Leung, a Toronto seminarian from the catechesis group, and Cynthia Crevier, a volunteer from Montreal who handled English and French media, as well as Boskill joined the pope on his boat ride down the Rhine River, along with 40 other volunteers who had been preparing for the event for months.
Crevier was surprised she got a chance to speak with the pope.
"He disregarded protocol because we were not supposed to meet personally," she said, according to a news release from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) Aug. 19.
"He insisted on meeting us one at a time. I introduced myself and he spoke to me in French. He told me he remembered the WYD in Toronto and was happy to be at the WYD in Cologne. He is very likeable."
Volunteer Veronique Rondeau of Joliette, Que., was among a dozen young people from around the world who shared a meal with the pope Aug. 19.
"He is a very simple and wise man," Rondeau said, according to the CCCB release. "I was at ease in his presence."
Rondeau, who represented youth from North America, said the youth each introduced themselves to the pope and were invited to ask questions.
To Rondeau he spoke about his expectations for the Church, especially the Church in Canada.
"His wish is that committed priests and laity spread the message of a living faith throughout the world," she said.
On Aug. 15, the pilgrims converged on the host cities of Cologne, Bonn and Dusseldorf for activities that included catechesis and aid projects for a range of groups including the elderly, the homeless and families in crisis.
Participants also took part in a Way of the Cross through Cologne's streets, a pilgrimage to the Cologne cathedral and two catechesis sessions led by bishops.