Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Arlington Residents See Pope They Make Trip to World Youth Day

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Arlington Residents See Pope They Make Trip to World Youth Day

Article excerpt

Byline: John Carter, Times-Union staff writer

More than 40 Arlington youths and chaperones recently returned from Toronto, exhilarated from seeing and hearing the Holy Father.

Groups from Holy Spirit Catholic Church on Fort Caroline Road, Assumption Catholic Church on Atlantic Boulevard, Christ the King Catholic Church on Arlington Road and Resurrection Catholic Church on University Boulevard made the pilgrimage to Canada for World Youth Day, actually a multi-day event created by Pope John Paul II, who addressed the gathering.

"It was just breathtaking to see the pope," said Joanne Sawyer, youth director of Holy Spirt, who took her church's youth group, which included son Derek Sawyer, 18, and daughter Katy Sawyer, 15. Husband Bruce Sawyer also made the trip that began July 23 and ended July 28.

Derek Sawyer said the trip was memorable but exhausting.

"We got up at 4 o'clock one morning to camp in the rain to get a good view of the pope," he said. "My buddy Frankie Whibley, who is 6-foot-2, spent two hours sitting on my shoulders to take photos and to see over all the people. There were 2 million people there at one point, people from countries from all over the world. It was a great experience, but the trip back home was just one big 'power nap' for me. I just went out and slept most of the time."

The group flew to Buffalo, N.Y., then took a bus to Toronto.

Scott Fichter of Holy Spirit, who also made the trek, said he enjoyed exchanging souvenirs with young people from other countries.

"We exchanged [rope] bracelets and other little things," he said. "But I think my favorite thing was to exchange U.S. money for foreign money. That was pretty cool. Some of the foreign money is pretty cool."

Derek Sawyer, Fichter and Whibley dyed their hair red, white and blue, respectively, as a personal salute to the United States.

"A lot of the kids we met loved it," Fichter said. "We felt pretty patriotic, so we did a lot of chanting 'USA, USA. …

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