Steamboat Springs On Tuesday, eight Steamboat teen-agers will leave their homes to make a Catholic pilgrimage across the ocean to Rome and join more than a million other young people from around the globe.
"It's going to be marvelous," said Father George Schroeder of Holy Name Catholic church. "There are so many possibilities."
Along with Denise Bell and youth minister Chris Thompson, Schroeder will lead the teens to this year's World Youth Day in Rome. Todd Bell, Nissa Carlson, Frank Cefaratti, Sarah Davey, John Hottenroth, Tess Hottenroth, Sarah Fox and Mallory Kebler are the teens who will make the trip.
"I'm just a parent," said Denise Bell, who will accompany her son, Todd. "But I wanted to share the experience with my child. And this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
The group has been planning its pilgrimage since the fall of 1997, when news of the youth day in Italy made it to Colorado.
It's getting closer and closer," 17-year-old Sarah Davey said. "We're all really excited, and we all have mixed emotions because it's so overwhelming. We'll just have to take it as it comes at us."
Making the pilgrimage is a way for young people to find a deeper connection to their faith, Davey said.
"As a teen-ager, you really don't know what to believe," she said.
The group will tour Italy, from Milan to Rome, Davey said.
During the time the Steamboat group has been planning the trip, several students have dropped out of the pilgrimage, Davey said. The eight who remain constitute a core group of teens who have "become really close" during their three years of fund-raising.
To help pay for the trip, the group has made Christmas cards, held auctions, hosted spaghetti dinners and washed cars.
"The kids have been working really hard toward this, and have done a wonderful job of fund raising to take care of most of the expenses of the trip," Denise Bell said. "And we all thank the community, too. Without merchant support like donations at our auctions we just wouldn't have been able to raise the money."
"Local businesses donated a lot of time and money. Without their cooperation, we wouldn't be able to go."
The Steamboat group will see the Last Supper, a replica of the Shroud of Turin, and will spend a day in Florence, Schroeder said.
More than 1 million young people from all over the world are expected to show up in Italy to celebrate World Youth Day 2000.
It will be the 15th annual celebration of its kind, and will include music, singing, scripture readings, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, morning and evening prayers, mass and confession.
The Steamboat group will travel in Italy with a youth group out of Denver for two weeks.
To reach Bonnie Nadzam call 871-4205 or e-mail email@example.com