Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of August 29, 2005
Kids stay home from WYD@home
Well-organized event suffers from low turnout
By GLEN ARGAN
It was billed as the archdiocese's first WYD@home. And while no one expected the pope to show up or to have crowds that rivalled the one million who attended the closing papal Mass in Cologne, the crowd count at WYD@home's four days of event was lower than one might have hoped for.
Between 50 and 70 people attended each of the events in Edmonton and St. Albert Aug. 18-21.
But while admitting she "would have liked to have seen double or triple" the number of attendees, organizer Jeanne McKay Rowan said she was not disappointed with the turnout. "I'm very happy with the weekend."
"It was a wonderful experience for everyone who was involved."
Quality, not quantity
Indeed, if the quantity wasn't there, the quality was.
WYD@home started Thursday with a Mass at St. Thomas More Church celebrated by Father Sylvain Casavant.
A Friday evening Stations of the Cross that began in St. Alphonsus Church, made its way through an adjacent park and concluded in the church basement was well organized and notable for its reverent participants.
Five teams took part in the AmazinGRace that had teams of five youth going to various points in the city to take on "challenges" ranging from cutting up potatoes at the inner-city Urban Manor to locating the chapel in the West Edmonton Mall.
A Saturday evening catechesis session, led by retired Newman College professor Sister Fay Trombley, and a tour of St. Albert Church preceded a praise and worship service, a decade of the living rosary in the grotto area behind the diocese's first cathedral and a presentation by Development and Peace.
About 20 people stayed to watch the WYD Mass piped into the Star of the North Retreat House beginning at 1 a.m. Some slept in the retreat house, others by the grotto before rising to celebrate the Sunday Eucharist with the congregation of St. Albert Parish.
About 400 people from the Edmonton Archdiocese travelled to Cologne for the WYD with Pope Benedict.
WYD@home was billed as an attempt to ensure that WYD would not be an exclusive party for a few people. Those unable to travel to Cologne would still be able to take part in the event on their home turf.
NAIT student Stephen Tamayo, 20, said he attended the events to lead youth by his example. "There's not enough young people who are active."
Renata Malczewski has attended World Youth Days in Denver and Toronto, but said she "didn't feel the call of the Holy Spirit" to go to Cologne.
Nevertheless, she was pleased by the Stations of the Cross at St. Alphonsus. "I loved the prayers. I loved the part about forgiveness. The Scripture was chosen well."
Concordia student Andrew Hoffman also attended the Toronto WYD. "It was quite an adventure," he said.
Hoffman said he didn't have the time and money to go to Cologne, but as for WYD@home, "I'm glad I got to do it."
He liked Casavant's homily in which he spoke of how the youth in Edmonton are spiritually linked with the pilgrims in Germany.
Will Rowan, who co-organized the event with his wife Jeanne, said they plan to recommend that WYD@home be held every year.
"This is the first time we've ever tried to do anything this big," he said. But in the future, they hope to build on what they've learned and perhaps hold the event at a different time of the year.