Eucharistic procession sends message of hope, participants say

| June 8, 2015 | 0 Comments
About 200 Catholics of all ages processed in Minneapolis from the University of St. Thomas Law School Chapel to the Basilica of St. Mary June 7 with the Eucharist on the feast of Corpus Christi, which celebrates the real presence of Jesus. Maria Wiering/The Catholic Spirit

About 200 Catholics of all ages processed in Minneapolis from the University of St. Thomas Law School Chapel to the Basilica of St. Mary June 7 with the Eucharist on the feast of Corpus Christi, which celebrates the real presence of Jesus. Maria Wiering/The Catholic Spirit

About 200 Catholics of all ages processed in Minneapolis from the University of St. Thomas Law School Chapel to the Basilica of St. Mary June 7 with the Eucharist on the feast of Corpus Christi, which celebrates the real presence of Jesus.

During the procession, Catholics sang hymns and recited prayers including the Divine Mercy Chaplet. It culminated in Gregorian vespers with the Rose Ensemble and Benediction, followed by an ice cream social. The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis organized the event.

Janette Howe, a parishioner of the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul and a lay Missionary of Charity, said she attends the event every year. She lingered near the end of the procession to hand out small prayer cards to onlookers. The response was generally positive, she said.

Some bystanders told her they were Catholic and joined the procession after Howe spoke to them, she said.

The procession “draws people to a deeper sense of wonder — What is this about? What am I about? — and bring[s] people to those deeper questions,” said Howe, adding she hoped the procession showed “Jesus is the same – today, tomorrow, yesterday. Nothing has changed there.”

Howe’s son, Father Spencer Howe, associate pastor of St. John Neumann in Eagan, held the monstrance containing the exposed Eucharist under a canopy near the front of the procession.

Tim Regan, a parishioner at St. Thomas the Apostle in Minneapolis, called the archdiocese his “parish.”

“I want to make a statement that the body of Christ is present in the world, and therefore we process to show he’s present in the world,” he said.

The procession reminded him of a rosary procession from his childhood in the 1950s that drew 250,000 people, he said. “I wish we could do that again.”

He said he feared onlookers saw a line of “criminals,” referring to the criminal charges the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office filed against the archdiocese June 5, alleging it failed to protect children in its response to concerns raised about Curtis Wehmeyer, a former priest who was convicted of abusing minors while overseeing Blessed Sacrament Church in St. Paul.

Regan said he wanted the procession to send a message: “There’s hope.”

The annual event is the archdiocese’s 19th Corpus Christi procession and is sponsored by the archdiocese’s Office of Worship, the basilica, and the University of St. Thomas Campus Ministry. More information is available at walkwithhim.org.

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