A Note of Thanks...
from Dee at the City
Linda Behrns has been doing a fantastic job keeping the park looking beautiful.
Next time you see her, thank her for all she does for the city!
Story - A Cass County Pilgrimage
The leader of the group of 16 people was Denise Swenson from Manly. This was Ms. Swenson's for the third time journey to WYD. She attended WYD in Denver in 1993 and in Rome & Paris in 1997.
Denise says, she enjoys the feeling of comradery with other countries at WYD.
Barb Smisek who attended WYD for the first time this year said she heard from Denise how much people enjoy seeing & meeting Pope and decided to go with the group.
Here is the list of our neighbors who made the pilgrimage to Toronto this year:
Denise Swenson and her 3 children Catie, Christal
They began the journey by bus from Lincoln (it is a 24 hour ride from here to Toronto) and suddenly the air conditioning went out. They pulled over in Omaha for about an hour to repair air-conditioning. Somewhere around the Canadian border their bus broke down again and they had to wait another 3 hours for repair. They arrived in Toronto Monday evening on the 22nd of July.
They stayed there till the night of Sat the 27th.
To get to the destination area in Toronto they took a bus, then the underground and then a bus again. Their registration card provided them free rides on the bus and metro as well as daily lunch and dinner. Breakfast they bought for themselves. Barb Smisek said breakfast was mostly blueberry muffins and orange juice or just water.
The program of WYD was very rich, a whole book of things to do - opening mass with Archbishop of Toronto, Reconciliation in Autumn Park all days of WYD, social service, Youth Festivals, Franciscan Fest and a gala concert.
The Way of the Cross was re-enacted on the streets of Toronto, pilgrimage to Downsview Lands, Saturday Night Vigil, Papal Mass and Announcement of the next WYD on Sunday morning.
One could see people chanting and singing all over Toronto - representatives of 172 countries were there. WYD was originally created by Pope John Paul II for people 16-35 years old but everybody is welcome to go.
Countries sing and dance, lots of different cultures mixed together. People were thoughtful, considerate and polite, everybody slept on the floor and took cold showers in the morning (mind there were about 700,000 people that arrived to Toronto for WYD of 2002), but nobody complained. Spirits were high!
Kids were trading pins, t-shirts, little bears (stuffed toys), jewelry, etc. with youth from other countries for keepsakes and memories.
Thursday evening, July 24, Pope John Paul II came to Exhibition grounds to greet Catholic youth of the world, festivities began at 5pm. (Pope arrived in a helicopter, mostly because of security reasons).
Our local team saw the Pope twice, that Thursday greeting and on Sunday morning.
Saturday morning everybody went to a Pilgrim Mass at 8 am in one of the churches in Toronto, and took a pilgrimage from designated areas to Downsview park - it was many miles walking with a backpack - and thousands of people from around the world - singing, sharing and celebrating faith - were greeting the pilgrims as they walked.
When our Pilgrims arrived at the park they got one of the last spots to spend a night here with their sleeping bags, flashlights and knapsacks.
Barb said it was not the most choice spot - it was a little wet and right under the giant screen with loud speakers. There were wall to wall people - (about 200,000) - slept there that night.
As it happened the rain came early Sunday morning but people shared umbrellas and rain coats with each other to stay dry till the morning Mass with Pope and closing of the World Youth Day 2002.
After Sunday Closing Mass with the Pope our group of pilgrims departed and were taken by bus a hotel in Michigan with hot water and - alleluia! - BEDS!!! Some took showers and some just went to bed to have a long and well-deserved nap.
The trip cost about $550 per person for entire trip, Denise says, with practically everything included - bus, fee into cathedral, all activities and meals, registered pass allowed them to do everything very conveniently, they only paid for souvenirs.
Denise said she and her group were fundraising for two years to be able to afford the trip. They were doing spaghetti feeds, auctions, tractor pulls, selling pies at Christmas time and much much more.
It was a long way to World Youth Days but they are going to do it again!! If you would like to participate in the next World Youth Days in Germany, 2005 - it is time to start thinking about it now!
Denise and Barb, thanks you for the interview and good luck to your next journey in 2005!!
Say about that Graduate...
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