Annual Corpus Christi procession in Minneapolis!
It's that time of year again - the high feast of Corpus Christi (my favorite feast of all -- and what a feast for our new priests to celebrate their first Masses on!)
We had the annual Archdiocesen Eucharistic procession on Sunday afternoon, going through downtown Minneapolis this year (from St. Olaf's to the Basilica of St. Mary, about 8-9 blocks). I would say 400-500 people came out to walk with our Lord through the streets of Minneapolis -- not bad considering it was a little chilly and rain was predicted (none fell however, thanks be to God! :).
It was led by our auxiliary bishop, Bishop Richard Pates, and was also attended by about 4-5 priests, a few deacons, a lot of religious, and a good number of seminarians to serve (you have to remember that there were a lot of Thanksgiving Masses being celebrated during that time by new priests, so there were a lot of clergy/seminarians who were not able to come this year to the procession).
One nice touch this year was the addition of having a large number of First Communion kids, all dressed up, leading the Blessed Sacrament with their parents! The girls had bags of rose petals that they dropped before the Sacrament, the boys had little bells to ring. There was also a Knights of Columbus honor guard and tons of relgious.
Very traditional, very beautiful. There was a canopy over the Blessed Sacrament and the bishop; seminarian servers (all in cassock/surplice) with incense, candles and altar bells; a police escort and a wonderful cantor with radio so that we could all hear. Beautiful hymns, all Eucharistic and Marian, we also sang the Divine Mercy chaplet (that sounded AWESOME echoing up and down the Nicollet Mall corridor in downtown--the buildings on either side blocked the wind and worked to magnify the singing... we turned a lot of heads with that!).
In downtonw Minneapolis there is a popular Scientology place (what do you call where Scientologists gather?) on Nicollet, some of us commented that the bishop should have turned with the monstrance and doubly blessed that building... What was funny though was that right when we said that, one of the women who was standing in the building came running out with a camera, and ran on ahead to get a good shot! Hmmm.
Then we went through Loring Park, a park notorious for it's homosexual activities and "goings on", I'd like to think that by bringing our Lord through there that He was able to make a difference in some of the people there.
We eventually made it to the Basilica, and then concluded with Benediction. Afterwards, an ice cream gathering in the backyard of the Basilica, before walking back to St. Olaf's to find the cars and some dinner.
All in all, a beautiful way to spend the feast of Corpus Christi, and a beautiful way to spend a spring afternoon, with our Lord held high before us, witnessing to the power and beauty of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.