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Turn to Jesus (Article)

YTM at WYD 2002
Youth for the Third Millennium Missionaries Make Their Mark in Toronto.

WYD Toronto
Toronto will never be the same after WYD 2002.
"Around midnight on the night of the papal welcoming ceremony at Exhibition Place, I visited the press center just to express thanks to the hundreds of journalists covering the event. We had over 3,800 accredited journalists representing over 800 media outlets. It was astonishing. On that Thursday night I entered one of the offices of a large American television network and those present burst into applause. One senior woman producer blurted out: "This is one of the most beautiful stories we have ever covered. Thanks for helping to arrange it." (Fr. Tom Rosica, Toronto, the CEO of WYD)

Thousands of people were deeply touched by the Stations of the Cross that took place in the heart of Toronto on Friday night, July 26. The CBC, Canada´s national television network, told us that the event was transmitted to over 160 countries in real time. Over 1 billion people participated in the events via television.

Not only the media, but the police, bus drivers and the subway operators came to appreciate the youth who literally and spiritually embraced the city of Toronto with their zeal and enthusiasm. "Many RCMP officers who worked on WYD 2002 told me that it was the highlight of their careers to work on this event and in many cases to meet the Holy Father" (Fr. Tom Rosica).

The media reported that over 800,000 people attended the final Mass on Sunday July 28. Early morning rain and wind were replaced by John Paul II´s homily and the appearance of the sun and blue sky as if triggered by an automatic switch.

I thought these opening paragraphs might help all of you put into perspective how this 82 year old man of God and the thousands of youth who attended WYD were able to transform the secular city of Toronto into a city filled with joy and charity.

The over 150 Youth for the Third Millennium missionaries that went to Canada had a great experience sharing their faith with
WYD Toronto
many Canadians during their parish missions and wide variety of WYD encounters. For everyone who went to WYD the lasting images will be of young people fervent and excited about their faith. Many realized for the first time that they have a role within the Church, while others were convinced that they must do more!

During the first week of our pilgrimage to Canada I stayed with a group of 35 missionaries in Kitchener, a city an hour west of Toronto. There were many great personal encounters within the YTM missions preceding WYD. Matt Beasley a missionary from Orlando, FL, had a great experience knocking on doors.

Fr. Terry Sehl, the parish priest at St Joseph´s in Kitchener, wanted the missionaries to visit some apartment buildings within his parish boundaries and one day Matt´s team entered a building and found the landlady to be less than welcoming. She actually asked them to leave the building, but Matt sensed an opportunity and did not leave right away. In the course of conversation Matt discovered that it was her birthday, and before exiting the building he decided to write her a note. As he was writing she came out of her room and saw the YTM missionaries again and said in a gruff voice, "I thought I told you to leave." Then she asked Matt, "What are you putting in my mail box?" He gave the note to her. When she read it, she was caught off guard. Matt wrote a note saying happy birthday! At this moment Matt could see that he had broken through the wall she had put up as he saw her eyes begin to well up with tears. However; true to her nature she still asked them to move on!

We know that Matt´s final attempt to reach this landlady made an impact because the next day he went back to that neighborhood and decided to see if she was around. He spotted her; she was all smiles and said that she was very happy to see the missionaries again and would be pleased to let the missionaries visit the residents and distribute any literature they had. She asked for more literature for herself in order to expedite the process.

Matt´s encounter was a divine appointment and God had arranged many other great encounters in and around Toronto. To compliment the home visits missionaries engaged in many different parish events including running and directing a day bible camp, helping pour the foundation for a home for a
WYD toronto
St. Joseph´s parish benefitted greatly from the Missionaries presence.
family in need and visited the sick and elderly. One group of missionaries made a special instructional video on how to serve the Mass correctly. It was directed by Sam Vasquez, our summer employee, and will be used to train altar servers at St Joseph´s parish.

WYD was the culmination of a wonderful summer of missions, conferences and training experiences and I would like to thank all of you who helped cover the costs of our preparation and execution of WYD events. Your contributions took care of the bills and allowed more young people to experience this great event that will leave a permanent impression on their hearts and souls.

With the fall fast approaching YTM is ready to engage in local and national missions around the country, including September and October missions in Pennsylvania, Florida, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Maryland and other states. In 2003 we have larger missions planned including a five day mission for Washington, DC that will have as its aim the promotion of a culture of life in conjunction with the annual march for life. The Spring will bring about more local YTM missions plus major missions in Mexico.

Please continue to keep YTM in your prayers and don´t forget about us financially as we set out this fall to increase the number of men and women who both participate in and coordinate YTM missions around the country.



Related articles
- Youth for the Third Millennium
- Youth for the Third Millennium Arrives in Ireland
- YTM Women Make Their Mark at World Youth Day: Well over 100 Volunteers Evangelize By Word and Deed

Related links web site
Mission Network
Our Lady of Bethesda Retreat Center and the Center for Family Development
Changing Hearts
Cancun-Chetumal Prelature
Helping Hands Medical Missions

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