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Chris Harper WYD Delegate to Rome
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Archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas WYD Project

On Palm Sunday, 2001 Christopher Harper Jr. a young Ojicree man from St Theresa Point Manitoba represented our Diocese in Rome to receive the World Youth Day Cross.

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Since that time, Chris has played an instrumental role in welcoming the cross into our diocese and the promotion of World Youth Day 2002.
 
Young Chris has written his first of 4 articles... Do Enjoy !!!

Article 1 -TRIP

Hi, my name is Christopher James Harper Jr., everyone calls me "Beps" and I am twenty-one years old. I have a story to tell or should I say an experience. It happened a year ago when I was chosen to attend a celebration of our faith with youths from across the world. People told me that it was a once- in- a- lifetime thing but I think anyone can have this. Everyone has their own experiences in the course of life which is probably why the twelve Apostles wrote different gospels of our Lord Jesus Christ. If only there were twelve gospels in the bible, not just four then there would be more stories about Jesus to learn from. As I said, my experience happened a year ago so some things are not going to be totally accurate but the important things will be right on! This is what I saw, this is what I felt, this was my "TRIP," and this was my experience

I packed, still wondering why I was chosen to go. People were excited and I was, too. They would ask me who were the people I was going with. Those were just the questions that I had been asking. I would only know when I would arrive at Toronto and Montreal. I couldnt sleep. All I could think about was " Im going Rome and I am going to meet the Pope! Pretty Cool!" I decided to read a book; maybe that will get me tired. I turned my lamp on and dimmed it with a towel so the light wouldnt bother my roommate, Jonas. It was 2:30am and the residence was as quiet as a church on Friday. The residence was part of the school I was attending called the Frontier Collegiate Institute located in Cranberry Portage, MB.

I first started attending this place when I was fifteen until I was twenty. I attended other schools between those years such as Brandon, Sandy Bay, St. Theresa Point (my hometown) and Winnipeg. Yet, I always found my way back to F.C.I. Anyway, that stuff is not important right now.

I woke up the next day early and said my good byes to Jonas who also is my cousin and neighbour at St. Theresa Point. I said " Well, Ill see you in two weeks, man. Take care. Ill e-mail you." He was still sleeping and the place was still quiet. It had to be, it was 6:30 in the morning.

I was ready to start a long day. Which meant I would be drinking a lot of coffee. I hate coffee! But it works. The workers at F.C.I. gave me a ride to the Flin Flon Airport, which took 45 minutes. And coffee # 1 was consumed. An hours flight took me to Winnipeg at which I had to wait three hours for my next flight to Toronto. And coffees # 2,3, and 4 were consumed. My family waited at the Winnipeg Airport for me. It was nice to see them one more time before I had to go. It was 10:30am and I needed breakfast. My stomach didnt appreciate so much coffee in the morning. I ate some Chinese food and my stomach was happy. Then again I said my good byes. My parents were so proud of me. My sister and brothers were happy that one of us gets to see the world. I walked in the terminal and realized I was on my own. I wasnt scared and I wasnt brave but simply anxious. I didnt know what to expect and this was exciting.

I presented my ticket and my carry-on luggage. My luggage which had to be examined for security reasons. After that was all done I decided to buy a novel in a bookstore. I bought an Anne Rice novel entitled " Vittorio the Vampire". My father was always baffled by my interest in such novels and movies. I take them as an outlet from reality. It is not because I love blood and gore; its because it is more interesting than reading novels entitled "Schindlers List" and "Sleepers". Im not saying that these novels are boring as a matter of fact they are excellent. But there istoo much reality in them. Thus, I read vampire novels.

I looked at my boarding pass and it said my flight was boarding at 11:30am at gate B-3. I opened my sleeve and read the time from a watch I borrowed from my sister, Melba. Its good that the watch didnt look too feminine otherwise I wouldve borrowed one from my little brother, Wilfred. The time was 11:15am, which meant that I had better find the gate quick. It wasnt difficult considering that the terminal was pretty small as an International Airport. Again, I presented my ticket, and then I was shown to my seat. I had two carry-on baggies. One bag had a hand drum that belonged to a man named Roy Mason. The organizers of this trip told me that I would have to perform a song in Rome in front of the Pope. I wasnt nervous, but I guess I really didnt have the time to be nervous about anything.

I sat in my seat and looked out the window and thought out loud, "Next stop, Toronto". "I guess youre quite the traveller arent you?" said the man sitting next to me. I didnt think anyone had heard me. "For the time being? Yes, you could say that," I simply replied. He asked me where I was going and where I was from. I said I was going to Rome and I was going to school in Cranberry but am originally from St. Theresa Point. I wonder why people do that? They state where theyre living but tell you where theyre originally from. Everyone does that. Anyway, the man was interested in my business in Rome. So I enlightened him and told him why I was going there. We had a conversation for a while until the food arrived. I just had breakfast but I thought that Id have lunch now since I wouldnt have time to eat at the airport in Toronto. I noticed that he barely touched the meat in his plate. I asked him if he was a vegetarian. "Oh, I eat meat. Its just that my heart condition tells me to lay off it for a while, the doctor says" I ate my food while he explained the whole ordeal of his last surgery. I couldnt pay attention to what he was saying because this commercial airliner food tasted really, really bad.

We landed, and I was in Toronto for the very first time. I never did learn the mans name from the plane, but learned that he was a contractor of some sort. He had two kids with one of them being adopted. He was currently living in Toronto or was it Winnipeg? Im not sure. It doesnt matter.

Its too bad that I only had an hour to find my gate where Id be heading to Montreal. I really wanted to see this Toronto city. This would have to be the second international airport Ive ever been to. Compared to Winnipegs airport, this place was huge. The building was shaped like a "U". Unfortunately, I found out that my gate was at the other side of the building. It took me twenty-five minutes to walk there. The airport even had these go-carts that are like golf ones that would drive you to the gate. I decided to walk because the building had stores in them. I bought a magazine and coffee #5. I searched through my pockets just to make sure I had everything. I doubled checked if I still had all my tickets and boarding passes. I found my gate 15 minutes before boarding time. I held my magazine and sat and waited.

I read the magazine, which was also the new issue to "Guitar World". I started to miss my "baby". I was afraid that I might lose my touch from being away from her too long. You can tell that youre really a guitar addict when all you think about is playing a riff or two. I named my baby "Norishia". It was a Gibson and I loved playing with her.

I sat in the plane and almost forgot where I was going. I cannot remember if I even sat with anyone during the flight. That is probably so because I slept throughout most of the flight. I opened my eyes and saw the nightly lights of Montreal from my window 3,000 feet in the air. I marvelled at this citys size but couldnt help thinking that there were cities thrice the size of this one. The time was 7:00 pm and I had been travelling from one plane to the next for the past thirteen hours. I was so sick of coffee and airliner food. I really needed a cigarette or I was going to break out and scream!

I claimed my luggage and made sure all my stuff was there. I was worried that they would go missing. I counted 1, 2, 3, and 4. Mr. Roger Halfacre, a very nice man, met me at the airport. Roger, one of the coordinators of this exciting trip, made me feel very welcome and comfortable. I mustve waited for him at the terminal for an hour and a half, wondering if I was even being picked up. There was another person waiting for him that I didnt know. She was sitting in the same terminal I was. I noticed her when I arrived and she noticed me. Not that kind of notice! I was thinking that maybe she was part of the same trip I was. When Roger came, I found out that she was. Her name was Heidi and she was from the east coast. I dont exactly remember where. I told her what I was thinking when I first saw her and she laughed because she was thinking the same.

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