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​Archdiocesan-wide Feast of Corpus Christi Eucharistic Procession attracts largest crowd

July 11, 2019 | posted by Today's Catholic newspaper

Topics: In the Press

Archdiocesan-wide Feast of Corpus Christi Eucharistic Procession attracts largest crowd 

For the past six years, San Fernando Cathedral has sponsored a Eucharistic procession through the streets downtown on the Feast of Corpus Christi to give public witness to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.

Every year, with the encouragement of Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, the cathedral invites the entire archdiocese to participate, to make this holy festival of the Corpus Christi a special event, with many members of the Body of Christ to sing, honor and praise the Lord present in the Blessed Sacrament. This year, on June 22, about 900 people took part in the event, which began after the 5 p.m. vigil Mass.

To make it joyous and glorious, the faithful brought flower petals to decorate the path so that they could reverence the Lord with the beauty and fragrance of his own creation. In procession with the Lord, with continuous songs of praise, the faithful lined up all along the entire procession route. As the Blessed Sacrament arrived, flower petals were thrown on the path at the feet of the Lord. Volunteers were positioned on every block that were identified wearing red T-shirts with a Gold Monstrance on the front to offer assistance.

The faithful followed the procession as it wound downtown with a brief stop at St. Mary’s Church and closed with Benediction at San Fernando.

In his homily at the cathedral, Archbishop Gustavo said that Jesus leads his disciples to a quiet place, the wilderness, for rest, peace, and prayer. However, the crowds find him, and thousands of people bring their sick relatives and friends -- as well as their own deep hunger for God. He heals their sick and teaches them about the kingdom of God -- a place of justice, healing, reconciliation, mercy, and compassion, and God’s enduring love.

“Are his disciples frustrated that the crowds interrupt the disciples’ rest and prayer time? Are they in wonder at Jesus’ power to heal and to teach the good news?” the archbishop asked, replying, “We do not know, but we do learn that the disciples become truly concerned about night approaching in the wilderness where there is no food for the crowds. The disciples look to Jesus to do something -- namely, stop preaching and healing, and send these people away!”

The Missionary of the Holy Spirit explained that for Jesus, the crowds are not an interruption but, rather, an opportunity to serve. “Moreover, in the kingdom of God, disciples do not send needy people away -- they care for one another,” he added. “In the kingdom disciples meet others’ needs; they do not dismiss them.”

Jesus involves his disciples in distributing the little food they have. But first he blesses the food. He thanks God for the gift of nourishment. Jesus then breaks the bread and has his disciples distribute it.

The San Antonio prelate told listeners that at the liturgy they were hearing clear echoes of the Last Supper. Jesus blesses bread and wine, breaks the bread, and invites his disciples to eat of his Body and to drink his Precious Blood. “Every Eucharist recalls the Last Supper and the death of the Lord to show us God’s unconditional care and love for us. The liturgy becomes detached from our lives if it does not lead us to feed the hungry,” emphasized Archbishop Gustavo. “Feeding the hungry without the Eucharist is not satisfying or empowering. At every eucharistic celebration we hear the gospel proclaimed and receive nourishment for our journey -- through the wilderness even.”

The archbishop concluded by telling the pilgrims that the procession should remind them that they are to carry the word of God and Jesus dwelling within them to everyone they encounter in life. “We are all responsible for continuing Jesus’ mission and ministry.”