Pre-WYD Conference Gathered Seminarians and Priests

TORONTO, JULY 23, 2002 (ZENIT.orgAvvenire).- Aside from its 200,000 young participants, World Youth Day 2002 is also bringing together seminarians and priests.

Eighty seminarians and priests from 23 countries participated in a congress July 18-21 in St. Peter’s Seminary, two hours from Toronto. Today the participants joined all the other young people participating in WYD.

“This is the Church,” said Cyril Bagin, 25, who studies theology in London, Ontario. “Many here have an idea made up of prejudices. Instead, we wish to show that the Church is young, and able to be with young people.”

Father Marco Gandolfo of Italy, recently ordained, added: “I have understood what the word ‘exacting’ means. The Pope is exacting, the Gospel is exacting, Jesus Christ is exacting. With the WYD, John Paul II encourages us to aim high, not to be afraid to make strong proposals to young people.”

Among the speakers and personalities attending the congress were Cardinal James Francis Stafford, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, archbishop of Paris.

“It is really important, especially for someone like me who comes from a small church, to hear about experiences and problems,” said Nigel Karam of Dominica, Netherlands Antilles. “Here I have heard cardinals and bishops who love Christ and their priesthood, a testimony I will not forget.”

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