Vol. 13, No. 14 July 27 - August 9, 2000


Norwood Teens Set for Pilgrimage to Rome


Norwood resident Claudio Acevedo, 16, has toured about 20 American cities with his dad, a truck driver. But Acevedo, who emigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic only nine months ago, will travel a little further on his next trip. On Aug. 15, he and other students from St. Ann's and St. Brendan's Catholic parishes will be heading to Rome, Italy, for World Youth Day 2000, a five-day religious celebration. The 15th World Youth Day is expected to be the largest ever, with over one million teens and young adults expected to attend.

"It will be a great experience," Acevedo said. "I will meet the Pope and hundreds of young Catholic followers of Christ."

Eleven teenage students from St. Brendan's Church, and five students from St. Ann's Church, will participate in the event celebrating the Jubilee year.

The groups of students were selected based on similar criteria -- involvement in the churches' youth groups, interest, and parental consent.

"I'm very happy with the students that were selected to go," said Sister Marla Marie, who will be chaperoning the St. Brendan's group. "These students are serious about their faith and they are involved in their parish, so I admire them for that."

While at the conference, the groups will sightsee, debate, pray and celebrate the Jubilee year.

"I want to go in order to understand the importance of the event, to meet people with a common interest, and to see the historical aspect," said Diana Duarte of St. Brendan's.

For four days, the students and their chaperones will be immersed in an array of musical, religious and cultural activities. Events, which were planned and coordinated by the Italian Committee for World Youth Day, include a pilgrimage from Via della Conciliazione, through the Holy Door, and into the Altar of Confession located in the Vatican Basilica. There will be Eucharistic Celebrations led by the Pope, trips to Basilicas and prayer vigils.

In the past, World Youth Day, which takes place every two years, has been hosted by Mexico, France, Poland and the Philippines.

Ramon Marte, who at 14 is the youngest participant from St. Ann's, said he wants "to learn a lot of things, like culture and history, and meet the Pope."

The students from each of the two parishes will also be working on projects so they can share their experiences with the rest of the church congregation. Carmen Hansen, the chaperone for the St. Ann's group, will give each of her students a pad and pen so they can comprise a list of questions to ask fellow participants from other nations.

Father Michael Lipareli, a priest and spiritual leader for the St. Ann's youth group, hopes the participants will come to better know themselves and their religion by attending the conference. "I hope they form their identity, learn who they are, know what it is to be a Catholic from our history, and have a good experience," Lipareli said.

Both parishes have been working diligently to raise money to fund the trip. St. Brendan's held a flea market, had church collections to support the group and appealed to church members for donations. Fundraising efforts by St. Ann's included a car wash, bake sales, church collections, a Circle of Prayers concert and a raffle.

After all that hard work, Jennifer Molina of St. Ann's is ready to experience all World Youth Day has to offer. "I hope to get a sense of a new change of attitude, a lifting of spirits," she said.

Ed. note: Contributions may still be made to St. Brendan's (call 547-6655) or St. Ann's (call 547-9350).

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