NEW YORK, FEB. 25, 2002 (Zenit.org).- A group of 100 young Canadians brought the World Youth Day cross to ground zero, to express solidarity with the people of the United States.
The group conducted a simple prayer service at the World Trade Center site with the cross, in remembrance of the people who died there and 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 Sept. 11.”
The Canadian group arrived Sunday 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 also attended.
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.”
Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, 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 Sept. 11.”
He added: “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.”
The cross is a gift from 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 to celebrate their Catholic faith and be with the Pope. The cross is being taken around Canada in preparation for WYD, set for July 18-28 in Toronto.
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; and Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Meagher of Toronto, chair of the Canadian bishops´ committee for WYD.