Sunday, June 06, 2010

taking it to the streets...

... I love processions. Next to a fully habited nun or a priest in clerics is the procession as a public witness to Catholicism. Here in the south they are virtually nonexistent save for a handful of exceptions. My first ever exposure to a procession, outside of old Hollywood films, was my Abuelita taking me to her parish's Los Dias de Muertos procession. Think about it... that is kind a wicked first exposure to the Church from the perspective of an unchurched little girl.

Funny, I started blogging on the November 2, 2005 and one of my first posts was about that feast.

More than the actual procession itself, I remember the way people driving by gawked at the weird Catholics parading down the streets with candles and faces painted like skulls. Talk about bat shit crazy in white bread Virginia. I recall being slightly mortified and wishing I had a normal family. I wonder if my son thinks that from time to time himself.

Actually that isn't the best example of witnessing Catholicism via a procession. I am quite sure most people who saw us that evening just went home with their belief in our supreme weirdness confirmed. Moving along...

Corpus Christi is a big procession day in the Church and with every public proclamation of the faith there is a chance for some one to witness Catholics in action and maybe have the seeds of faith planted. The more people see something the more accustomed they become; eventually they get comfortable with the idea of Catholics marching up and down their streets in throngs. Maybe they develop a curiosity. Maybe they will convert. Maybe not. However, we will never know if we continue on the trend of hiding, or even worse, blending our faith and traditions with other denominations and religions in an attempt to practice diversity and ecumenism.

Like the vanishing religious habit, let's not loose all our outwardly appearances that make us uniquely who we are.

Corpus Christi procession in 2009 photographed by Lawrence Lew, OP.

If you have photos of your parish's Corpus Christi procession you'd like to share leave the link in the com-box.


nazareth priest said...

Amen to Eucharistic processions!
We transferred our's to next Sunday when we will celebrate the External Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus when we have our open house for our new priory/oratory.
If you're in the area, please join us; Cor Jesu Oratory, Edson, WI. for directions.

Just another mad Catholic said...

if only our transfered (as usual) Corpus Christi in Bristol was as nice, no procession, lots of kids fighting during Mass (I tried to restore order but gave up and told them that they didn't need my permission to go to hell) and lots of women dressed EXTREMLY immodestly, BTW it was first Holy Communion - the only part of the day whihc was good, about 8 girls and boys dressed up very nicely, remindined me of the passage ", Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him", still I doubt I'll see them at Mass again

sorry for the rant, just wished that we had nice traditional stuff in my country

Anonymous said...

The pageantry and formality (processions and high masses included) of the Roman Catholic church always appealed to me as a young Baptist who got none o' that stuff. We were lucky to get candles for Christmas (one day only).

Catholic Bibliophagist said...

The Corpus Christi procession is a huge deal in our parish.

We have a procession at noon followed by Mass. Then a parish feast with international food.

I couldn't take part in it this year because I had foot surgery a few weeks ago and can only hobble. I went to the early (and less crowded) Mass.

Mitch said...

We had a procession for the second year in a row at my parish and I know at least 3 other parishes had processions in my city... probably more diocese wide. Just 5 years ago I think there was one... things are trending in the right direction

Anthony S. "Tony" Layne said...

Have never seen one, except in pictures. Why oh why was I born post-Vatican II? *sigh*

Smiley said...

We had a eucharistic procession at Pirnce of Peace in Scarborough. It was nice really really nice. We kept singing hymns but when we reached the main road for some reason the cantor had us sing Battle Hymn of the Rpublic. Boy that sure got us the weird looks

Pebbles said...

Always reminds me of this quote:

"The host is often carried in procession with great solemnity: and those who are but casually present when it passes are obliged to kneel down in an act of worship to God; unless perhaps, they will run the risque of the inquisition, or of being knocked on the head by the devout rabble that attend it" (Jonathan Mayhew's 1765 Dudleian Lecture on Popish Idolatry)

I wish I could join that devout rabble. I love processions but there don't seem to be any in my area.

John said...

This comes a little late, but that's because Exam Week intervened!

Corpus Christi is my seminary's patronal feast day, so it's always a big weekend for us. This year we made it bigger still, to commemorate the Year for Priests and the 10th anniversary of our presence in Carlton, an inner city suburb in Melbourne. We marched right down Lygon Street, which is Australia's most famous dining strip. 600 people joined. Next year we hope to double that!

Photos and video @