World Youth Day Cross carried through Toronto

 The World Youth Day Cross is due to arrive at exhibition grounds near Toronto's waterfront for the opening ceremonies later today. On Sunday it was carried through Regent Park - one of Toronto's poorest neighbourhoods. A huge procession carrying candles and singing carried the cross past run-down shops with barred windows and people sleeping in bus shelters. While some passers-by were indifferent, the Toronto Globe and Mail report that others said they felt honoured to have the event in their neighbourhood. Men hung out of windows at the Good Shepherd homeless shelter to catch a glimpse of the procession as it marched past the building and down an alley. The group stopped to pray outside a public housing complex, where garbage overflowed from bins out front. Residents kept their distance, watching from inside a set of double doors in the lobby. At the end of the walk, the weatherbeaten cross was placed in St Paul's Minor Basilica where it was in display all night. The 312-metre, kilogramme wooden cross, has been carried through 71 Canadian dioceses and roughly 40,000 kilometres across the country since April. It was entrusted to the youth of the world by the Pope in 1984 during the first World Youth Day and has been touched by millions of people around the world. Meanwhile, in Montreal, the Globa and Mail report, about 20 alleged victims of sexual abuse in Quebec religious institutions carried smaller crosses in a silent protest outside a Youth Mass on Sunday. Many of the demonstrators were Duplessis orphans, a group that alleges physical and psychological abuse in church-run institutions during the 1940s and '50s. The protesters lined up a few metres from the celebratory Mass attended by thousands of young people in Montreal's Mount Royal Park. Contact Independent Catholic News tel/fax: +44 (0)20 7267 3616 or email

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