For the first time in my seventeen years here at St. Mary, as we celebrate the Solemnity of Corpus Christi (The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ), we will hold an outdoor procession of the Blessed Sacrament Sunday, June 14, at the end of the 10 a.m. Mass on Sunday. Our neighbor, Saint Agnes, has held such a procession for many years in their parking lot.
Many of us have experienced a similar procession at the conclusion of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday evening. On that occasion the Blessed Sacrament is processed to a designated place for extended adoration until Midnight. It symbolizes Jesus going forth from the Last Supper with his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Judas’ gesture of a kiss sets in course the Passion of Our Lord. Of course, because of Covd-19, we did not hold that procession this past Holy Week.
Our inability to hold the Holy Thursday procession is not the only reason for observing this custom of the church. Far from being simply a leftover of the piety of the past, processions remind us that we are pilgrims journeying through this earthly existence following Jesus on “the Way” (an early title for the Church). In the Eucharistic processions of Holy Thursday and the solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) we publicly proclaim this truth, following the Lord physically even as we pledge anew to do so spiritually. We also give public witness to our acceptance of the Lord’s words: “The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (Jn 6:51). As such, public processions serve as tools of evangelization within our neighborhoods (Msgr. William J. King, simplycatholic.com).
As our society and world contend with persistent unrest, I hope this procession—no matter how limited the number of physical participants there may be—will be recognized as a tremendous opportunity to focus our eyes and our hearts on Jesus, who is the only Way to peace, the only Way to justice, the only Way to healing, the only Way to a harmony that is authentic and not a shallow simulation of “tolerance.”
To quote Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI:
In the procession we follow this sign and in this way we follow Christ himself. And we ask of him: Guide us on the paths of our history! Show the Church and her Pastors again and again the right path! Look at suffering humanity, cautiously seeking a way through so much doubt; look upon the physical and mental hunger that torments it! Give men and women bread for body and soul! Give them work! Give them light! Give them yourself! Purify and sanctify all of us! Make us understand that only through participation in your Passion, through "yes" to the cross, to self-denial, to the purifications that you impose upon us, our lives can mature and arrive at true fulfilment. Gather us together from all corners of the earth. Unite your Church, unite wounded humanity! Give us your salvation! Amen [Homily of His Holiness, Benedict XVI , Saint John Lateran,Thursday, 15 June 2006].
Also, our local newspaper has reported that on Friday, June 19, members of the local community are invited to participate in a “peaceful march and a way to begin the healing” of inequality based on racial identity. Cornerstone School is a gathering area for the commencement of this event (which begins at 7 p.m.) We invite parishioners to gather at 6:30 p.m., here at Saint Mary, for a time of prayer prior to that event. We will then make our way together to Cornerstone.
For quick access to the entire bulletin for this weekend ONLINE, please click on the link below: