"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
|Toronto will never be the same after WYD 2002.|
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.
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.
over 150 Youth for the Third Millennium missionaries that went
to Canada had a great experience sharing their faith with
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.
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
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.
|St. Joseph´s parish benefitted greatly from the Missionaries presence.|
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.