Last weekend in Whitby, we saw a parade of young adults from all over the Greater Toronto Area. About 400 people participated in that day. Women, men, couples, religious, priests. All were there to experience a day of renewal in Christ, a renewal of their faith. Hence the name of this day: “Renew.” The day was well organized, beginning with an opening address by the young archbishop Francis Leo, followed by a sung prayer, keynote speakers, adoration, confessions and workshops. The afternoon ended with a Mass. In the evening, the young people enjoyed a more social time, with the chance to play sports and games in order to get to know each other better.
As you can see, we, the CNDs, were there too! Joan, Margaret and Violaine arrived by 8 a.m. to set up the booth. The coordinating team had reserved a space for us in the entrance to the main hall. This was a good thing, as young people often passed by and stopped to chat with us. Shortly after our arrival, once the booth had been set up, who did we see coming? Francis Leo! Jo had tasked Violaine with greeting him, so she took the opportunity to approach him, taking care to wait her turn to speak to him. Joan offered him a temporary tattoo – great! It was in this context that Msgr. Leo, delighted to see the CNDs again, greeted and blessed us all, including the sisters who were absent. He fondly recalled the Masses he used to celebrate at the Mother House when he was at the Grand Séminaire.
Around 11 a.m. Margaret and Joan left, and Debbie arrived to support Violaine. We invited the youth to come closer with our great raffle! As the Canadian Vocation Committee, we came up with the idea of organizing this raffle and decided on the following prizes: 1) all-expenses-paid participation in the Come and See weekend in Montreal at the end of May 2024; 2) A spaghetti dinner with CND sisters; and 3) an icon of the Virgin Mary. The youth were on board!
As well as inviting them to join in the raffle, we took the time to tell them about Marguerite Bourgeoys, Canada’s first saint, and about our charism and spirituality. We had pamphlets for them to take home. Thanks to Sue, we also had temporary tattoos left over from WYD. We asked them if they wanted one and, if so, we invited them to pray with us as we applied the tattoo. Each time, a special connection was made with the young person, and a blessing was passed on.
At around 2 p.m., excited to be able lend a hand, Yvonne and Mary Jane arrived and took over from Debbie! Violaine was then able to rest for a while and listen to the worship songs! Finally, around 3:30 p.m., Jo arrived, and Mary Jane and Yvonne left. Jo and Violaine staffed the kiosk and ran the raffle together. When the young women came to the table to collect their prizes, they were so happy!
We left at around at 7:30 p.m. with happy hearts, proud to have been able to radiate Marguerite Bourgeoys’s charisma, each in our own way, like flowers in the garden we make up. Thank you, dear sisters and associates, for your prayers.
Let’s remain in full communion!