The Sydney Morning Herald reports that crosses to be produced by the Men's Shed at the Mary MacKillop Outreach in Lewisham are to be handed out as the 3.8-metre-tall World Youth Day Cross, symbol of the world's largest youth spiritual festival, criss-crosses the country in the lead-up to next year's WYD.
"Every cross we make is a prayer," Cora Velasquez told the Herald as she sat beside her husband, Sim, on a modest production line creating the crosses.
The task has become one more of faith than of labour for those on the production line. Sim Velasquez used to be a financial controller. A stroke two years ago left him unable to speak and with almost no use of his left arm.
Since starting on the project, Mrs Velasquez says, her husband has regained some control of his left hand, has become more alert and responsive, and feels valued again.
They are stronger now in faith, and after every day in the workshop visit St Mary's Cathedral before heading to their Ashfield home.
"My prayer has been heard because my husband is improving," Mrs Velasquez said. "He feels very useful and for me that is a miracle. It has given me hope that one day I will see him more independent."
Martin James glued together the first cross, which will be given to Pope Benedict XVI. "I had a stroke and went to Liverpool Hospital in a helicopter," he said.
"I was in a place with two other people. They both passed away. I knew God was looking after me in every sense. I pray over the cross, that this cross captures people's hearts."
"The easiest thing would have been to say let's go to China and get the crosses produced for two cents each, but this is not what World Youth Day is all about," Alice Priest, who is helping organise the WYD cross's journey, added.
"The whole process is helping people to understand what the whole event is all about. It's a powerful witness to what the cross stands for: the cross is about transformation and resurrection."
Prayer-filled production line gives patients a cross purpose (Sydney Morning Herald, 2/3/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
World Youth Day 2008
Men's Shed Mary MacKillop Outreach Centre
WYD Cross at N Korea border (CathNews, 1/3/07)
WYD to re-enact Jesus' passion and death (CathNews, 19/2/07)
Sydney adopts Olympic traffic standards for WYD (CathNews, 22/1/07)
WYD adopts solidarity pricing scheme (CathNews, 12/1/07)
NSW Parliament gives assent to WYD enabling legislation (4/12/06)
WYD08 in call for new generation of young leaders (CathNews, 2/11/06)
Charismatic Canadian bishop arrives to activate WYD school campaign (CathNews, 24/10/06)
Bridge walk for WYD08 pilgrims (6/10/06)
Musos to compete for WYD theme song (3/10/06)
World Youth Day sets up shop (CathNews, 27/9/06)
Sydney stretched for WYD08 space (CathNews, 25/9/06)
Married priests on agenda for new Eastern Rite bishops association (CathNews, 30/8/06)
Oceania bishops voice concern on climate change, AIDS (Cathnews, 15/8/06)
More places needed as 25,000 Americans expected for WYD08 (CathNews, 2/8/06)
Think big for WYD: NZ bishop (CathNews, 28/7/06)
Bishop Fisher unveils WYD plan (CathNews, 10/7/06)
2 Mar 2007