Area youth plan for journey to Canada to see John Paul II

Saturday, July 20, 2002

Southeast Missourian

Some area Catholic youth are seizing an opportunity most only get once in a lifetime: seeing the pope in person.

Thirty-one area youth and adults are traveling to Toronto, Ontario, on Sunday to attend the World Youth Day activities. Pope John Paul II is expected to attend and celebrate Mass July 28.

Many of the youth attended rallies and heard the pontiff speak during his 1999 visit to St. Louis.

This time, the focus for the rallies is solely on youth. "I think that's really cool," said the recent Notre Dame Regional High School graduate.

World Youth Day is an event that brings together Catholic youth -- members between the ages of 16 to 35 who are considered future leaders of the church -- from more than 150 countries.

Together, the youth learn more about their faith and how they express their faith in their own hometowns.

Youth from St. Mary's Cathedral will leave after the 10 a.m. Mass Sunday for the drive to Mississauga, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto. They will meet up with another 17 youth from Dexter, Mo., and Van Buren, Mo.

About 300,000 people are expected to attend.

In Canada, the youth from St. Mary's will be doing local mission projects. They will stay with host families from Our Lady of the Airways parish in Mississauga, Ontario.

Doyle said that's what she's most excited about. "Other than seeing the pope, I'm looking forward to the service work," she said. "I like doing something for other people."

But for many, the highlight of the trip will be a pilgrimage walk to see the holy father. The youth will walk to the site of the outdoor gathering with the pope on Saturday and then remain outdoors until the Mass begins Sunday morning.

ljohnston@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 126

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