One Rock World Youth Day at Home volunteers. Photo by Jen Shkolny

Calgary to keep WYD at home

By  Marie Boston, Youth Speak News
  • January 25, 2013

CALGARY - The Calgary diocese, citing prohibitive costs, will not be sending an official delegation to this summer’s World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

But the diocese will be celebrating the spirit of the worldwide gathering of Catholic youth by hosting its own event.

“It’s actually quite hard for a lot of people to get to Rio this year because of the cost, it’s a little prohibitive,” said Calgary youth minister Mary Ann Donaleshen.

Donaleshen formulated the idea of World Youth Day at Home in conjunction with the One Rock Catholic music festival held annually in southern Alberta to “really make sure that World Youth Day happens at home even for those who cannot get to World Youth Day in the major international arenas.” One Rock is a weekend Christian music festival which features inspirational talks, music, Mass and other family activities.

Eden D’Souza, One Rock committee member and stewardship co-ordinator for the diocese, agrees that a trip to Rio may be inaccessible for some youth.

“Just a flight alone will be close to $2,000. And by the time you get your accommodations and meals and everything you’re probably spending another $2,000 and that’s probably for only two weeks… not a lot of youth can afford that,” she said.

World Youth Day comes with a greater price tag than usual. While WYD in Spain cost each Calgary pilgrim around $2,000 on average, the trip to Rio is expected to come at a cost of up to $4,000. As well, in order to enter Brazil, a visa is necessary for non-native travellers.

The diocese is not discouraging individual parishes and groups from sending groups, but the World Youth Day at Home event, slated for July 26-28, will be an Alberta-wide event, with all five Catholic dioceses in the province participating. Donaleshen estimates 3,000 people will attend.

Although families are welcome, “it’s catered to (youth ages) 18-35, which is the World Youth Day audience,” D’Souza said.

Donaleshen says it will have a World Youth Day atmosphere. Events will include a Way of the Cross on the Friday night just like in Rio and a vigil celebration. Although the Pope will not be in attendance, a Mass will be celebrated, and the idea of having all the bishops of Alberta celebrating has been kicked around.

“It’s about celebrating World Youth Day… so we will be mirroring here in Alberta what actually happens in Rio,” she said.

At WYD in Spain, the final Mass was not translated into English, and so many youth were not able to hear the Holy Father’s message unless they searched it out after the fact.

For World Youth Day at Home, the group plans to have a live video stream of certain events going on in Rio translated into English. This will help to purify the experience, so that, as Donaleshen says, “people don’t just go to World Youth Day, but they get the chance to hear the message.”

The festival will feature One Rock events including live bands, catechesis and opportunities for confession. The very popular soccer match in which diocesan priests face off against high school students is planned and an area where Catholic organizations such as vocational orders or Catholic retailers can set up booths will be available.

The diocese of Prince Albert in Saskatchewan is also looking into planning a WYD at home experience in partnership with the Diocesan Vocations Commission in July. Other dioceses, including the archdiocese of Toronto, also plan to host WYD events at home.

(Boston, 25, is a third-year fine arts and drama student at the University of Calgary.)


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