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Pope John Paul II To Bless Habitat For Humanity House In Toronto

Pope John Paul II To Bless Habitat For Humanity House In Toronto

TORONTO, July 19, 2002 – Pope John Paul II will bless a Habitat for Humanity house in Toronto, Canada, on Saturday, July 27, with more than a million people expected to attend the papal address. Habitat for Humanity Toronto will begin building the house Monday, July 22, with the help of corporate sponsors and youth pilgrims attending World Youth Day 2002 from 150 nations. The barrier-free Habitat for Humanity house, sponsored by RBC and The Dow Chemical Company, will be moved to its permanent location in August.

“I am excited to be working with World Youth Day pilgrims over the next few days on this special house,” said Neil Hetherington, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Toronto. “This build is a natural extension of the work Habitat for Humanity does to eliminate poverty housing around the world.”

The Habitat for Humanity World Youth Day Build is a featured social service project of World Youth Day 2002, an international conference of Catholic youth ages 18 to 34. Youth pilgrims and other volunteers will build on the Habitat house at the Parc Downsview Park site July 22-24. On Wednesday, July 24, Habitat for Humanity Founder and President Millard Fuller will tour the youth build site, meet the Habitat partner family, and speak to a group of youth pilgrims that will number in the thousands. Fuller also will take part in the groundbreaking for a 15-unit build called Project Lawrence, the largest blitz build ever for Habitat for Humanity Canada. The week’s festivities will culminate with the papal address and house blessing on the evening of Saturday, July 27.

“I am so impressed by these young people who have come to Toronto for World Youth Day from 150 countries around the world to give tangible expression to their Christian faith through service,” said Millard Fuller, founder and president of Habitat for Humanity International. “I am thrilled that one of the ways they will serve is by working with Habitat to build simple, decent houses with families in need. Such a gift is an example of Habitat’s model of neighbors helping neighbors to build better communities and a powerful witness about Christian love in action.”

Habitat homeowner Barry Brown is disabled with multiple sclerosis and lives in a nursing home. Buying a barrier-free Habitat house will make it possible for Barry to live with his family. Barry has been on a municipal list for accessible housing and was told to expect a waiting period of at least 10 years.

Brenda, Barry’s fiancé, looks forward to planting flowers, and she eagerly anticipates the day her future husband will be able to go outside and sit in his own garden. Brenda said she is extremely grateful for the fantastic support they have received from Habitat Toronto and the strong focus they have placed on Barry’s needs. She also said she remains amazed at the outpouring of compassion from Habitat supporters that has changed their life.

World Youth Day, celebrated every two years since 1984 was created by Pope John Paul II to gather young adults, aged 16 to 35, from around the world for a celebration of faith, solidarity and Catholic culture.

Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. Founded by Millard Fuller, along with his wife, Linda, Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliates in more than 2,000 communities in 83 nations have built and sold more than 120,000 homes to partner families with no-profit, zero-interest mortgages.