Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 6, 2006
Youth Summit ignites faithful
Spiritual joy spills over the 630 delegates attending the Cardinal Marc Ouellet led event
By BILL GLEN
"It (the Eucharistic Congress) will engage everyone to live their faith in witness - visible and personal."
- Roger Rouleau
The summit was launched May 19 with a presentation of the Ark of the New Covenant, recently blessed by Pope Benedict XVI when the Quebec bishops made their ad limina visits to the Vatican May 11-12.
"There was a prayer service around it (that lasted) longer than three hours but seemed to last 30 minutes," Jamieson said.
"Not a single person was distracted."
The ark will travel throughout Quebec and in January 2007, it will begin its pilgrimage across Canada. It will likely come to the Edmonton Archdiocese sometime between May and August.
Eucharistic Adoration dominated the second day, with workshops focused on Jesus and Pope John Paul II.
A compelling talk by Dominican Brother Marcel Dumont opened the third day, sharing his journey to the priesthood.
Later, the delegates witnessed Dumont's ordination, celebrated by Ouellet, archbishop of Quebec. The day concluded with Eucharistic Adoration.
Jamieson said the group participated in several liturgical activities and workshops, including a holy water blessing.
She described the weekend as "joyful with a lot of singing, dancing and hand clapping."
"The delegates took 10 minutes to bless each other with holy water. There was Mass every morning and we had adoration in the evening," she said.
The larger-than-expected turnout has spawned thoughts of holding another event next year.
"They were ecstatic," Jamieson said of the summit's organizers. "And next year they want everyone to bring two friends."
Rouleau was being interviewed by a Catholic radio program from Ottawa when he mentioned Edmonton had the largest Canadian youth delegation at World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto. He is hoping to at least match that for the 2008 Congress.
"Edmonton certainly isn't the largest diocese in Canada. So I challenged other dioceses to beat that number because if we can get 1,000 people, there's no excuse for a diocese like Montreal or Toronto," said Rouleau, who worked at the national WYD office in Toronto.
"They found it quite amusing, so we'll see what the general public feels when the program is aired."
The local contingent is now comparing notes before making a presentation to the youth ministry office and Archbishop Collins.
They have returned energized to help evangelize youth in the archdiocese to a vocation that will include the Church in some capacity. But they cannot do it alone.
"I'm really excited," Rouleau said. "It (the summit) is but a sample or taste of what the Eucharistic Congress is going to be. It will cause waves through this country.
"It will awaken not only the youth, but the faithful in general. It will engage everyone to live their faith in witness - visible and personal."
Jamieson thinks much can be done to evangelize the youth.
"We need to take the time that will allow us to deepen our reflection on what has sustained us as God's people through our individual pilgrimage; to rediscover the mystery of our faith and its meaning in our lives," she said.
Rouleau said the summit was an experience of hope and joy by meeting many new energizing movements within the Church. It will serve as a benefit to his future ministry.
Rouleau would like to see as many of the archdiocese's youth ministers as possible attend next year's summit.
"We have a vision of what we want our youth to experience," he said. "Maybe we can have something in place by the fall to prepare for the Ark next year. We have to discuss what is feasible.
"Hopefully we can get some assistance from various communities and movements within the archdiocese because it's important for youth ministers to experience it first hand."
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