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Young Canadians take World Youth Day Cross to Ground Zero first posted 25 February 2002
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 NEW YORK - first posted 25 February 2002 - 752 words

Today, a group of 100 young Canadians took the World Youth Day (WYD) Cross to Ground Zero to express their solidarity with the people of New York and the United States.

The group conducted a simple prayer service at Ground Zero with the WYD Cross in remembrance of the people who died there, their survivors, and to pray for peace.

Gillian Girodat, 23, of Saskatchewan said: "My hope is that the prayers of millions of people from around the world who have touched the World Youth Day Cross will reach the hearts and homes of those whose lives were so greatly changed on that tragic day of September 11."

The Canadian group arrived yesterday and attended a Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral along with hundreds of young people from the New York area. Many others from elsewhere in the United States came to attend and see the Cross.

Ross Emerson, 32, of Toronto said: "As someone from the financial services world, I can relate to many of the professionals working in this part of New York. I came to convey a message of hope to the people of New York and in particular to young professionals, in the hope of helping them develop a stronger sense of spirituality."

Fr Thomas Rosica, CSB, National Director of WYD, said: "Our presence at Ground Zero was a deeply moving experience for me, and for each person in the Canadian delegation. We came here to pray for all of those who were victims of the terrorist attack on September 11. We also pray for all of those who suffer and are victims of terrorism of any kind throughout the world. The World Youth Day Cross is a powerful reminder of the radiant light of God's presence in the deepest darkness and despair."

Renée Anne Poulin, 20, of Val Caron in northern Ontario, said: "I hope to bring a bit of the joy and peace of Jesus where the world needs it the most. I hope to give a bit of meaning to suffering by carrying the cross, which is the sign of God's love for us."

The WYD Cross is a gift from Pope John Paul II to the young people of the world in 1984. It is the symbol of WYDs, which bring together hundreds of thousands of young people from around the world to celebrate their Catholic faith and be with the Pope. The Cross, which has been around the world, is travelling to every corner of Canada in preparation for WYD which will take place in Toronto from July 18-28, 2002.

The Canadians in New York include representatives of the WYD National Office; youth from across Canada; personnel from the Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Service of Toronto; Bishop Anthony Meagher, Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto and Chair of the Canadian Bishops' Episcopal Committee for WYD and Fr Thomas Rosica, CSB National Director of WYD.

The World Youth Day (WYD) Cross

What is the WYD Cross?

The WYD Cross is a simple wooden cross that stands four meters tall and weighs 31 kg. Often compared to the Olympic torch, it has been crisscrossing Canada to prepare the country for WYD 2002.

The Journey of the WYD Cross

Since the WYD Cross arrived in Ottawa April 11, 2001 it has travelled by commercial airline, light aircraft, dog sled, pick-up truck, tractor, sail boat and fishing boat. It had been to the Maritimes, Quebec, Ontario, the Far North, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Apart from visiting parish churches, the WYD Cross has been to youth detention centres, prisons, schools, universities, national historic sites, shopping centres, downtown streets, nightclub districts and parks.

In April 2002, it will arrive in Montreal. After spending five days there, a walking pilgrimage to Toronto will begin. It will arrive in Toronto on June 9 and stay until the conclusion of WYD 2002.

Significance of the WYD Cross

During the Jubilee Year of the Redemption in 1984, Pope John Paul II entrusted this cross to the young people of the world. The Pope had these words for the young people:

"I entrust to you the very symbol of this Jubilee Year: the Cross of Christ! Bear it in the world as the sign of the love of the Lord Jesus for humanity, and proclaim to everyone that it is only in Christ, who died and rose from the dead, that salvation and redemption are to be found."

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