Belong 19:20 + June 20, 2019
This week we feature the Corpus Christi procession, that we’ll be having here at the Cathedral at about 12:30PM Sunday, June 23rd. We’re also introducing our new Eagle logo for the parish.
NEW – OLD CATHEDRAL LOGO. Recently we transitioned to a Cathedral logo that featured the outline of our church building; this was simultaneously designed with a second logo which featured an eagle. We’re now moving to the Eagle logo in what is both old and new for our parish community. A Catholic church tradition developed, at the close of the fourth century, that each of the four Evangelists were designated by a symbol that derived from Ezekiel’s vision as described in Revelation, and they were given a symbol based on the opening passage of their Gospel. Matthew’s symbol is a winged man because he traces Christ’s genealogy; Mark’s is the lion, because he begins by likening John the Baptist’s message to a lion’s roar; Luke’s is an ox, which recalls Zechariah’s sacrifice at the Lord’s altar; John is shown as an eagle, a reference to the soaring inspiration of his prose, and the image of an eagle soaring towards heaven, to return to earth with the revelation of the sublime and wonderful. For a time, the eagle was used as an early parish logo (shown here), but it was replaced by other logos that featured depictions of the Cathedral exterior including our most recent version. So we’re returning to the earlier logo with an updated rendition. We hope you’ll take to our parish’s visual representation of the soaring eagle that we debut this weekend with the Feast of Corpus Christi.
TEXT: “Corpus Christi Processions are Making a Comeback” By Joseph Pronechen
In many towns in New England and several other parts of the country, the faith has seen better days especially when we recall their long history of Catholicism and its outward displays — like processions.
But there are signs of a revival.
Again this year, hundreds of people took part in the procession from the basilica after the noon Mass celebrated by Archbishop Leonard Blair of the Archdiocese Hartford. Four priests concelebrated. The archbishop then carried the Blessed Sacrament through the downtown Waterbury in what became a solemn, joyful, moving display of faith taken to the streets.
What a procession it was, headed by a Knights of Columbus color guard followed by altar servers, nearly 40 seminarians (many from the Legion of Christ), deacons, several priests in vestments, little girls strewing flower petals, the archbishop with the monstrance, more priests and altar servers, then Bridget Froula in her white First Communion dress and Sean MacGillivray in his First Communion suit who were the two children receiving their First Holy Communion from Archbishop Blair at the noon Mass.
Next followed hundreds of people.
Many faithful — young and old, families, even a man in a wheelchair — sang all along the route, familiar songs like O Jesus, We Adore Thee and Lord Who at the First Eucharist, as they processed past the city green just made into a new park, through a downtown block undergoing renovation, into another area already renewed, and to beautiful Our Lady of Lourdes Church, the first stop, to hear a short gospel passage and short reflection on the Eucharist.
Then it was on to the Shrine of St. Anne, a magnificent gothic church where marchers filled the pews, heard another short gospel and reflection on the Eucharist and knelt for the procession’s closing with Benediction. Everything was wrapped in billows of incense and traditional hymns, one in French.
After the Mass and procession, Archbishop Blair reflected on meanings and aspects of the day, the message of adoration and reverence for the Blessed Sacrament not only on Corpus Christi but all the time. He shared three main insights with the Register.
First, this celebration and procession teaches us “to be always prayerful, attentive, and meditative in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament,” he said.
Second, it reminds us, “We are the Body of Christ, and therefore we also see him in our neighbor… the Eucharist embraces all of us.”
Third, it also highlights a public aspect. Archbishop Blair described how as he carried the most Blessed Sacrament “so close, I thought the eyes of Jesus are seeing the world in our streets. He is present to us. What a beautiful thing.”
Archbishop Blair added, “He is always present in the world. The procession reminds us he is present in the world” and interested in our joys, sorrows, and blessing.
Here was Jesus body, blood, soul and divinity under the appearances of bread, the host, walking through the streets.
Father Ford, the basilica’s rector, has seen hundreds attending in past years too. “I always really try to do these [processions] up and encourage people to participate,” he told the Register about processions on other Holy Days too, such as on Palm Sunday. “It’s an outward sign that represents a deeper reality, an interior disposition.”
“This procession demonstrates our faith in the Blessed Sacrament and our unity in Christ,” he said. “The Eucharist is the ultimate source and sign of our unity in Christ.”
Father Ford hoped to reflect this unity in several ways. He had encouraged other Waterbury parishes to join in, especially those merging into St. Anne’s. “It’s a symbol of the unity of the new parish,” he said, referring to the archdiocese’s new pastoral plan that has several parishes merging. The procession is a reminder the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ.
“Through this procession we’re professing our faith in the Real Presence and we’re also celebrating our unity in Christ because the Eucharist is the ultimate source and sign of unity. So we’re also celebrating our unity sharing in the one bread and one cup and demonstrating that in our participation in the procession.”
Praise from Participants
“The Eucharist is so dear to my heart,” said Jo-Ann Pesino, an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist for several years. The Corpus Christi procession presented yet another way “to love and honor him today, see him as the center of everything and see him so surrounded by hearts so dear.”
Pesino added, “The Eucharist shows not only his love but his humility just to be with us. When I receive him he fills me to the point of my heart burning.”
Her husband Dennis Pesino said it was “good to see so many people who love Jesus come in this hot weather.”
One of the canopy bearers, Thomas Froula, said to him the celebration of the Body of Christ mean grace to get through the day. “That’s what the Eucharist is for,” he said.
Nadine Merancy also was very pleased with the procession. “His heart is truly beating in the Eucharist for us,” she said. “To take Jesus to the streets with that beating heart, I can’t imagine the graces coming down upon us, upon our parishes, and upon the city of Waterbury.”
Merancy added that she looked at Jesus in the monstrance and asked, “Are you happy, Jesus?” He certainly was. And in New Haven too where there was another Corpus Christi procession.
Traditional and Timely
On Sunday, the Corpus Christi procession from St. Peter’s Basilica went through the streets of Rome. In his Apostolic Letter Mane nobiscum Domine for the Year of the Eucharist, October 2004–October 2005, St. Pope John Paul II recommended that Catholics participate in a procession on the Feast of Corpus Christi and taught, “Our faith in the God who took flesh in order to become our companion along the way needs to be everywhere proclaimed, especially in our streets and homes, as an expression of our grateful love and as an inexhaustible source of blessings.”
The custom dates back to the feast of the Blessed Sacrament established in 1246 by the Bishop of Liege, Belgium, after Jesus told St. Juliana of Mont Carvillon she was to promote it. By 1264, Pope Urban IV extended the feast to the whole Church. St. Thomas Aquinas composed the office.
Jesuit Father Francis X. Weiser in his Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs relates that in the early 14th century the custom began of carrying the Blessed Sacrament after Mass through the town in a beautiful precession. Popes encouraged it and granted indulgences, then the Council of Trent “solemnly approved and recommended the procession on Corpus Christi as a public profession of the Catholic faith in the real presence of Christ in the Holy Sacrament.”
In his 19th century book The Blessed Eucharist: Our Greatest Treasure, Redemptorist Father Michael Mueller details the reason why Jesus told St. Juliana to establish this feast. Given over 700 years ago, they sound current as today. Father Mueller wrote:
He wished it to be instituted for the following reasons:
1st. In order that the Catholic doctrine might receive aid from the institution of this festival, at a time when the faith of the world was growing cold and heresies were rife.
2dly. That the faithful, who love and seek truth and piety, may be enabled to draw from this source of life new strength and vigor to walk continually in the way of virtue.
3dly. That irreverence and sacrilegious behavior towards the Divine Majesty in this adorable Sacrament may, by sincere and profound adoration, be extirpated and repaired.
Lastly. He bade her announce to the Christian world His will that this feast should be observed.
Here’s an earlier Corpus Christi procession in Rome. >>To view the 1 minute video CLICK HERE.
Free access for parishioners. Go to www.formed.org and use the code 82F2DN when you register. This online resource is a treasure-trove of spiritual aids.
Soul of Christ, sanctify me. Body of Christ, save me. Blood of Chirst, inebriate me. Water from the side of Christ, wash me. Passion of Christ, strengthen me. O good Jesus, hear me. Within thy wounds hide me. Suffer me not to be separated from thee. From the malicious enemy defend me. In the hour of my death call me and bid me come unto thee That with thy saints I may praise thee forever and ever. Amen.
Altera septimana (Latin for “until next week”)! BELONG is a weekly informative news service highlighting matters of faith formation from our Catholic parish of St. John the Evangelist, and your Cathedral of the Diocese of Boise.