Last Sunday our Holy Father Pope Francis led the Universal Church in worldwide Eucharistic processions and adoration, and it was beautiful. In my corner of the world, we exited the Church and stepped into the heat of Texas. Catholic processions are a great way to honor Our Blessed Lord, and give witness to Him in our cities.
They are important for us too, as they help remind us of our Catholic identity, and strengthen it as well. We should undertake processions more often, and not just limit them to the boundaries of Church grounds, but go into the streets!
|The secular world wants us to stay within Church property, secluded away; ‘out of sight, out of mind’. If we give into their mentality, we have already given up on the effort to let the beauty of the One True Faith shine through to them.|
Think of what it would be like to step out of your house and see a line of people walking through your neighborhood carrying flags and banners in honor of Christ the King and the Virgin of Guadalupe, reverently chanting prayers with Rosaries in hand. At the very heart of this group a beautiful canopy covers Our Eucharistic Lord Who is carried by a Holy Priest within a monstrance, and an Altar Boy continually swings a thurible as incense rises up to Heaven.
|A great number of people participate in a procession from Christendom College|
I have had the opportunity to take part in a couple of processions that went out into the streets, and the results were awesome. Men and women came out of their homes and made the Sign of the Cross, kids stopped playing basketball and watched as we passed. People driving by stopped and asked why we were doing such a thing. Also, those participating were edified tremendously. Processions fascinate people, and open their hearts to eternal things.
Why would we make such processions? One reason is to make pilgrimage to a holy site, and another is to offer the procession for a specific intention, as we did this past Sunday. (The first intention was for the obedience of the Church so that she appear before the world as “beautiful, without spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish.” The second intention was for victims of violence, drugs, human trafficking, economic insecurity and social marginalization.)
When we look at it in this way, the reasons for having Catholic processions are many: for an end to abortion, or an increase in vocations; for all the poor souls in purgatory, conversion of the world, and increasing the belief in the True Presence; even for the end of liturgical abuse. The list goes on and on.
Too often we stand by and let the secular culture influence our actions. The Bride of Christ holds the Truth, but we often do not bring it to society for fear of being hated or persecuted. Take comfort in this: though many will hate us, and we will most assuredly be persecuted - if just one person feels the call of the Holy Ghost to conversion by witnessing the beauty of Catholic culture through a procession, it is all worth it, and it brings great glory to God. In the end, isn't that what it’s all about?
|Let us venture out into the neighborhoods and bring Christ to His people as the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter does in this picture from Scranton, Pennsylvania|