SYRACUSE CATHOLIC DEAF COMMUNITY
AUGUST 2002 NEWS
WORLD YOUTH DAY
“Can you reserve a front seat? I’d like a good picture of the Pope.” one youth asked me. Sure, I thought...along with the other 195,000 already registered for World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto!
July 27-28, our group of five -Holly and Matthew Cutler, Melissa Lansing, Thao Le, and Mary Margaret Van Damme- joined more than 800,000 people and DID get ‘up close’ to Pope John Paul II! As Holly says, “I was like five feet away from him when he went through the crowd to get to the stage. I felt like there was someone in my heart that cares about me and loves me.” Her brother Matt says, “ The pope was staring at me (with) a full of joy smile and waved and made me so happy and he must be (a) blessing by God.”
We started on our way in the wee hours of Saturday morning, and arrived at Downsview safely. We found our way to the Special Needs area where Deaf Groups from across Canada plus France, Germany, Holland, and the US were happily comparing stories. A special screen was set up with ASL and LSQ interpreters side-by-side.
About 6 PM we were at the spot where they prepared the landing pad (washing it down) for the Pope’s helicopter. Many police helicopters were flying around, then landed one...two...three Army helicopters, then came a low-flying orange and white ambulance helicopter which landed, then, flying really low, just over-the-building, came the Pope’s helicopter! So we were among the first to greet him, waving our special flag: “Catholic Deaf Community of the Syracuse Diocese, New York” with the handsign “I Love You”.
That night at the Vigil Service, we all held candles. Pope John Paul II’s encouraging words used the theme “You are the salt of the earth... You are the light of the world!” We are the ones that must show God’s face to the world - a face full of joy and love. He ended with a blessing and a “Good night! Sleep well!”
That night when lightning started, we were lead to a building (a hangar)...and we slept on the floor near the Popemobile!
Sunday morning, our group stood front row, in the rain, and again saw the Holy Father and felt his special love as he passed so close. The came Mass...signed by the priest accompanying the group from Germany.
As we walked out of Downsview- through the huge crowd waving flags of nations from around the world-we knew the Catholic Church IS Universal...and young people are members, very important and needed.
Did you read the Catholic Sun article about WYD?
And, read what the Canadian Press had to say about it, below!
EXTRA: TORONTO WORLD YOUTH DAY MEDIA MIRACLE
Canadians are still marveling that Pope John Paul II and the World Youth Day (WYD) participants received such massive and mostly very positive media coverage during the week long event.
The Canadian electronic and print media are usually hostile or at best disinterested towards any movement espousing traditional religious or moral principles - especially the moral principles which JPII consistently promotes. And yet, with far fewer exceptions than anyone could have expected, they were falling all over themselves to provide extensive and fair, if not exuberant coverage of WYD. Over 3500 media correspondents were registered for the event.
The Toronto miracle should give great hope to life and family advocates, of any denomination, that there is a still a strong openness and hunger for the truth among North American citizens and especially among teenagers and young adults - surprise, surprise.
Following are brief excerpts from just a few of the numerous newspaper articles published in Toronto's four major dailies that were part of this phenomena in the media capital of Canada. Unable to be included are the many large, positive front page headlines, (Sea of Love - Star, July 28) the huge full color front page photos and the several special newspaper sections that were published with articles and inspiring photos during the World Youth Days:
"When I walked into one of the major TV network offices, those present burst into applause: one senior woman blurted out: This is one of the most beautiful stories we have ever covered. Thanks for helping us to arrange it."
---Column by Fr. Tom Rosica, World Youth Day chief organizer
Toronto Sun, July 29, 2002
"John Paul, we have a confession to make. We underestimated you. Thanks. Thank you for reminding us, regardless of our religion, about the importance of duty and determination. About the power of faith and the power of God. Thank you for bringing to Toronto those hundreds of thousands of wonderful and sincere young people..."
---Editorial, Toronto Sun, July 29, 2002
"..as the papal coverage built to a deafening crescendo over the past week, until it was difficult to distinguish some of our main media outlets from the Vatican press office, I started to ponder a different question: How can one keep any sort of secular perspective in a world awash in faith."
---Anti-Catholic, strongly pro-abortion columnist Linda McQuaig
Toronto Star (Canada's largest circulation newspaper), July 28
"...the issues of modern day aren't so modern after all. St. Paul's letters make clear that the early Christians lived in a society every bit as materialistic, selfish, violent and exploitive as our own... The Pope stands tall not because he changed, but because he's had the courage to remain constant. That's precisely why his message will remain relevant and have staying power."
---Column by Guy Giorno, Chief of staff to former Ontario Premier Mike Harris,
Toronto Star, July 28
"The groups of young Catholics brandishing flags of their countries, singing, cheerful, polite and friendly, marching through Toronto, have had a stunning effect....They put cynics to shame.
----Columnist Peter Worthington (pro-abortion), Toronto Sun, July 29
"I'm an Anglican myself, but hurrah for the Catholics! What a mistake it would have been, if this Holy Father had cheapened the Church, by trying to change with the times by ordaining women, accepting birth control, allowing homosexual marriage, gutting the liturgy, appointing hip bishops - the whole gamut of my generations minimum demands. Such experiments have been tried in most of the other mainstream churches; they have helped to empty them. The young want something more than convenience from their Church - or moral support for immoral behaviour. They dont want to sever the roots sunk down through the ages.
---David Warren, National Post, July 29
"The response across Canada to the visit of John Paul II suggests many Canadians dissent from the orthodoxies of our public class. The massive outpouring of religious sentiment in Toronto was a manifestation of man's quest to find meaning in life, a quest that neither material improvement nor modernity can fully satisfy."
---Editorial, National Post, July 29
"Thunder marked the Popes arrival yesterday at Mass and he spoke immediately of the primordial struggle between life and death, between truth and falsehood.
---Column by Fr. Raymond de Sousa, National Post, July 29
"The most unbelievable experience I've had in 31 years of policing. All these people and no trouble, it was breathtaking, out of this world."
---Toronto Police Sgt. Jim Muscat, after working all night
National Post, July 29
"The human person is the most precious resource of any nation or any economy, so let our youth listen to the Pope on World Youth Day and take away some advice to make it a better world. Lord knows, we have not taught our children well."
---Linda Leatherdale, in article on corporate scandals and corruption in her
regular Money column, Toronto Sun, July 28
"The irony is that what critics see as the popes weakness is his greatest strength. John Paul has proven what politicians say but dont mean: if you are true to yourself, and if your heart is pure, people will respect you, even if they disagree with you And because John Paul, throughout his papacy, has been true to himself, he towers above politicians when it comes to public respectMay God bless him and keep him with us for many years to come."
---Editorial, A force for good, for God, Toronto Sun, July 28
"As a non-Catholic I found the event quite inspirational. And quite frankly, I got a little tired of all the whining about clogged roads, about how World Youth Day didn't include non-Catholics and on and on.. Frankly, as an Anglican I envy the Catholic Church the ability to organize such an event. The reason the Pope maintains his moral authority is that he doesnt take
political sides. He takes on all sides, right or left, for what he sees is right, is moral."
---Regular political columnist Christina Blizzard, Toronto Sun, July 28
"All right. I give up. Ive been overcome by a surge of papal envy. I didnt think World Youth Day would matter much to me, but I wasnt ready for the waves that one such old man and 200,000 or so teenagers can create. Think about it: the usually self-centered media of the city being dominated - no, monopolized - by the Roman Catholic Church for almost two weeks. Every public space in the city - and many outside it - overrun by groups of cheerful, well-scrubbed young people, all looking for something nice to do. Only events on the magnitude of Sept. 11 have commanded more space in the media recently.
As an Anglican I have a lot of problems with the Catholic Church - all the usual ones like abortion, contraception, divorce - but the hordes at World Youth Day knocked me out.
So, if theres one thing this past week has proven, it is that the deity is alive and well in millions of hearts and you dont have to be a Catholic to see it or feel it. And it is a joy to see the crowds of youthful believers out there singing songs on the subway and behaving angelically.
---Regular columnist Connie Woodcock, Toronto Sun, July 28, 2002
"To be near delegates is to experience an unrelenting energy and sunniness of outlook, a fetching idealism. It is to feel their palpable longing for love and goodness, community and peace, meaning and God.
---Toronto Star columnist, Jim Coyle, July 26
Media usually devoted to sport, crime and petty politics are dominated by the presence of an octogenarian, spiritual leader, religious rites and reports on the doing of good works. Leaders of our three levels of governmentvisit the Popeand have seldom seemed so puny, their temporal concerns shrinking into insignificance compared with his.
---Toronto Star columnist, Jim Coyle, July 28
Monday, July 29 - the Globe and Mail, Canada's unofficial national abortion and gay rights advocacy newspaper, and officially a national news and business paper, published the full text of John Pauls mass homily in a full 2 page spread. This included a large, full colour photo of the Pope at the altar during the Sunday mass surrounded by numerous bishops and cardinals.
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