World Youth Days 2000: First of 4,000 Young Canadians Leave for Rome

Tuesday, August 08 2000

(Ottawa — CCCB) Young Catholics from Canada have begun to leave for Italy to take part in World Youth Days 2000. While WYD 2000 officially starts August 15 in Rome, many of the young people, from 16 to 35 years old, are beginning their travels with stops in well known pilgrimages sites such as the Holy Land, Lourdes, Taize and Fatima.

The Canadian WYD participants will join up to a million other young Catholics from around the world who are gathering in Rome to celebrate their faith in this year of Jubilee activities. The 4,000 young Canadians from 30 dioceses will also be joined by 15 Canadian bishops.

The pilgrims will be housed in parishes, schools and private homes in and around the Rome area. Three young Canadians have been invited to be guests of Pope John Paul II at his summer residence at Castel Gandalfo along with twelve pilgrims from other countries. They include Christopher Radziminiski from Vancouver, Roger Gudino from Toronto, and Alanna Cormier of Halifax.

The youth of the world will be received on the evening of August 15 in Rome by Pope John Paul II. Earlier in the day, they will visit parishes across Rome in a special welcoming ceremony where the feet of pilgrims are to be washed by parishioners, a tradition dating back to Saint Philip Neri in the 15th century.

The young people will take part in sightseeing trips as well as attend special teaching sessions on their faith given by bishops from around the world. Each young pilgrim will also cross through the Holy Door at Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, a major part of their Jubilee trip.

World Youth Days will end on Sunday, August 20, when the Pope celebrates an open air Mass in St. Peter’s Square.

Just prior to World Youth Day, five of the participants will represent Canada at the Seventh International Youth Forum being sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Laity. They include Richard Medernach of Saskatoon and Rosalie Gagnon of Quebec City, both of whom will represent the CCCB, as well as James O’Mara of Hunstville, Ontario, Robert Mignella of Toronto, and Larissa Gray of Haliburton, Ontario, who were named by the Pontifical Council.

The fifteen Canadian bishops traveling to Rome include His Eminence Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte, Montreal; His Eminence Aloysius Cardinal Ambrozic, Toronto; Bishop Jacques Berthelet, CSV, Saint Jean-Longueuil; Bishop Colin Campbell, Antigonish; Archbishop Thomas Collins, Edmonton; Bishop Eugene Cooney, Nelson; Auxiliary Bishop Paul-André Durocher, Sault Sainte Marie; Auxiliary Bishop Jean Gagnon, Québec; Archbishop Marcel Gervais, Ottawa; Bishop François Lapierre, PMÉ, Sainte-Hyacinthe; Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Mancini, Montreal; Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Meagher, Toronto; Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, SJ, Halifax; Bishop Gerald Wiesner, OMI, Prince George; and Bishop James Wingle, Yarmouth.