Meeting the Pope 'amazing'
By Alistair Burns
The B.C. Catholic
In July 2002 the city of Toronto hosted the 17th International World Youth Day. Several hundred thousand youth, including groups from the Archdiocese of Vancouver, went by train, plane, and car. While there they welcomed the elderly Pope John Paul II.
The archdiocese is going to celebrate WYD's 10th anniversary with a Mass, to be celebrated by Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, and a barbeque at Good Shepherd Church in Surrey July 28.
"There were two types of pilgrims: the ones who went to WYD, and the thousand who were hosted here in Vancouver," remembers Analyn Perez, a consultant with the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.
The second type of pilgrim fell under the archdiocese's program of outreach to travellers passing through on their way to Toronto, named Days in the Dioceses. "It was a chance for them to experience Canadian culture," she recalled.
At the 10th anniversary event, participants will give testimonials and be able to watch a video clip from Father Thomas Rosica, CSB, the CEO of Salt and Light Media Foundation and the director of WYD 2002.
"WYD was not a show, a rave party, or a protest. It was an invitation and a proposal for something new," he points out. "Against a global background of terror, fear, and ecclesial scandals, this event presented a bold, alternative vision of compelling beauty."
One of his most poignant memories was a candlelight vigil at Downsview Park, a former Royal Canadian Air Force base. More than 600,000 people attended.
During the vigil Pope, now Blessed, John Paul II declared: "On what foundations must we build the new historical era? Is it right to be content with provisional answers to the ultimate questions and to abandon life to the impulses of instinct, to short-lived sensations?"
"Personally meeting the Pope was amazing, it was surreal," Perez remembered. "It really felt like the Body of Christ (gathered) around our vicar."
The celebrations at Good Shepherd Church, 2250 150 St., Surrey, will begin with Mass at 5 p.m.