Montreal Reporter Christina Parsons Completes Two-month Training Course at Vatican Radio

Saturday, August 19 2000

(Rome – CCCB) World Youth Day 2000 marks the end of a marvellous two months’ stay in the Eternal City for Montreal journalist Christina Parsons. One of nine Canadians chosen to participate in a two-month training course as part of the Jubilaeum project set up by Vatican Radio within the framework of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, Christina eagerly accepted an invitation from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) several months ago to be part of this unique Jubilee experience.

This past June, the news editor from Catholic Times, published by the Archdiocese of Montreal, made her debut in the Vatican Radio studios. She has spent the last eight weeks living an experience which has as much to do with communications as with faith. “Jubilaeum is unique. For one hour everyday, three teams, one French, one English and the other Italian, share the same air time at Vatican Radio. Each day is a tremendous challenge, given the cultural differences which exist among the three teams,” she observed in a recent CCCB interview.

Each team was made up of three members who took turns being either reporter, host, researcher or technician. The trainees had little time to visit the numerous tourist attractions which abound in Rome and Italy, especially since the working week runs from Monday to Saturday inclusive. “Still, I did manage to visit Rome, Naples, Florence and other places on Sundays,” Christina said.

Christina also had the extraordinary opportunity to meet the Pope. “During a Wednesday audience, we were ten from the Jubilaeum group presented to him. We were to greet him and I had thought about many things to say -that I find him extraordinary, that he pray for my family, etc. Yet when I shook his hand, I simply could not think of anything to say. I had become a five-year-old child, filled with wonder. He looked straight at me and I felt his holy presence. The expression in his eyes was very intense and filled with love,” she recounted, still deeply overwhelmed by the meeting.

She returns to Montreal with renewed joy. “My faith has grown during my stay here. I have met exceptional people with deep convictions. I now have friends, real ones, everywhere in the world. I have experienced the universal Church and I am blessed to have had this opportunity. It took time for me to believe it, just as it will now take time for me to get accustomed not to go by St. Peter’s Square every day”.

Before returning to Canada, Christina Parsons takes time to talk with Erik Pirroo who headed a group of young pilgrims from Montreal attending WYD 2000.