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A first-ever “WYD at Home”

Julian Paparella

Monday, July 8, 2013

Gundert cropped
The following is a Salt and Light interview with Nadia Gundert (above), Director of Youth Ministry for the Archdiocese of Kingston, Ontario.  On Saturday, July 27, 2013, the Archdiocese will host their first-ever "WYD at Home," to allow young people here in Eastern Ontario to engage in the experience and excitement of WYD Rio.
1. What is WYD at Home? What is its purpose and what does it involve?
World Youth Day at Home is an event that will take place on Saturday, July 27th in Kingston, Ontario to coincide with the actual WYD in Rio, Brazil. It is a local experience for those youth who can’t get to Rio. The day will include several experiences pilgrims experience when they attend a WYD, including catechesis sessions exploring the World Youth Day theme “Go and make disciples of all nations” with Archbishop O’Brien of the Archdiocese of Kingston and Archbishop Prendergast of the Archdiocese of Ottawa. The event adds a “world” flavour by incorporating a multicultural booth display for participants to visit, a Youth Festival (on the lawns of the Cathedral) that will feature local youth talent as well as multicultural entertainment, and a WYD Photo Booth. Prayer, music and liturgy will also be part of the day. Mass will be celebrated at 5pm in the Cathedral and there will also be Eucharistic Adoration and Taize prayer in the evening. We will be having a live feed of the Pope leading the Vigil in Rio as well as video with pilgrims in Rio. Confessions will be available all day in the Cathedral. Lunch will be in true WYD style and dinner will feature a “Brazilian Feast” to add some culture to the evening.
The purpose of the event is give youth an opportunity to experience WYD and bring youth together to enable them to share their faith and feel connected to the greater Church. We will together explore what it means to live out our faith and evangelize!
2. Who can be involved and how?
WYD at Home is designed for youth between the ages of 16-35. It has been just over 10 years since WYD was celebrated in Toronto and many youth from Ontario attended and were involved in hosting the WYD Cross and Days in the Diocese. That was a great opportunity for our local dioceses and a memorable experience. Many of the youth that participated in Toronto in 2002 now in their early 30’s so we hope that they WYD at Home event will be a reunion of sorts. Events like World Youth Day give young people the opportunity to grow in their faith, meet others who share their faith, and celebrate our faith.
3. What was the inspiration for WYD at Home? How did it come about?
We didn’t have an Archdiocesan group going to Brazil for a variety of reasons and I have been to previous World Youth Days starting with Rome in 2000. I have grown in my faith so much because of the experience of WYD and wish that all young people could have that opportunity. So we put a team of young people together and started planning! We hope that this event will continue in future WYD years as well. Lots of young people can’t afford to attend, many can’t get off work for that amount of time, have family commitments, etc. so this gives them an opportunity to get a taste of this wonderful youth gathering.
4. What excites you as you look forward to WYD Rio? What impact will this WYD have on the life of the Church and the lives of young people?
I think the world is excited about Pope Francis and this will bring a lot of media attention to World Youth Day and his attendance there. He is a likable, faithful, and humble shepherd and I think young people are drawn to that. As media reports have already expressed, the registration for WYD in Rio is steadily increasing, likely as a result of this exciting time of change in our Church. My hope is that this same ripple effect will exist here in Kingston. I know working with youth and in discussion with other youth ministers in our Archdiocese, young people are interested in Pope Francis, what is going on in our church today, the New Evangelization, etc. We are very excited, with technology's help, to share the Pope's message at the vigil in Rio with our participants during WYD at Home. I think WYD and our WYD at Home event will be a great opportunity for young people to re-examine their faith journey and how they can live out that faith in their daily lives.
5. What is the significance of the theme “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Mt. 28:19)? How are young people called to be and make disciples of Jesus Christ?
We are really excited about this WYD theme because it is so relevant, especially with the theme of New Evangelization being so prevalent in our Universal Church. This theme looks at how we are called as baptized Catholics to share our faith with others, to witness to the resurrection of Christ and share the Good News of Jesus Christ in our homes, workplaces, schools, and society! It is wonderful that our two catechesis sessions at WYD at Home can examine this theme more deeply and help us become disciples. We are bombarded with so many messages that challenge the teachings and beliefs of our faith, so we need to know our faith and be able to confidently and effectively profess it.
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