Catholic Family News

Corpus Christi Processions: Edifying Reminders of the Social Kingship of Christ

Photo credit: Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales

This year, many Catholics worldwide took to the streets in huge numbers to celebrate the great feast of Corpus Christi.

In Sydney, Australia, over 15,000 Catholics participated in the city’s Corpus Christi Eucharistic Procession led by Archbishop Anthony Fisher, O.P., “marking the largest religious event in the city since the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to reports by ZENIT.

Auxiliary Bishop Richard Umbers of Sydney praised Sydney Catholics for their attendance at the procession, saying: “It’s no secret that Australia aspires to host an International Eucharistic Congress, and such a public display of faith certainly adds credibility to our bid.”

Moreover, Bishop Umbers said he was encouraged by the huge turnout to organize more future processions. “Momentum is building for an enlivened Eucharistic culture in Sydney. The faithful have always been present, they have just been longing for an outlet to proudly declare their love of Christ.”

On the same note, Father Roberto Keryakos, a priest at Sydney’s St. Mary’s Cathedral, exhorted the crowds:

“Our Catholic faith is more beautiful than the world. Jesus Christ is more beautiful than anyone else, and He calls you and I to be holy. Invite our Lord into those places that need His Presence. Don’t be afraid. If it’s been a while, come back home. If it’s been a while, run back to God.”

Processions in Malaysia, UK, US

Even in countries without a Christian heritage, Corpus Christi processions were not uncommon. In predominantly Muslim-dominated Malaysia, Catholic parishes from the Kuala Lumpur South District gathered at the Church of the Holy Family in Kuala Lumpur’s Kajang district to have Holy Mass and a Corpus Christi Eucharistic procession on June 1 this year. As per an article by Herald Malaysia, “the evening’s celebration started with a Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, an apt devotion as the month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart.”

An Instagram post by the Church of the Holy Family in Kuala Lumpur’s Kajang district underscored the importance of public Eucharistic processions:

“One of the key liturgical facets of Corpus Christi is its procession. Processions have great biblical, liturgical and popular pietistic importance. Processions of the faithful enable Christians to give public witness to their faith, give glory to God, and they symbolize our earthly pilgrimage to the heavenly Jerusalem.Eucharistic processions began shortly after the institution of the solemnity of Corpus Christi. Often splendid and regal, the practice was encouraged by the Council of Trent so as to reiterate the Church’s belief in the real presence of the Blessed Sacrament.”

Miles away in Scotland, the Archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland, organized a Corpus Christi procession on June 2 “as a public witness to our faith in Jesus Christ,” as its website reported. Participants sang hymns in praise of Our Lord Jesus Christ during the procession, which traversed through Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile.

Speaking of the procession, Archbishop Leo Cushley proclaimed: “It’s a very visible and public celebration of our Faith. The Corpus Christi procession is intended for the good of all the people who live here, that they may be blessed and have peace.”

Similarly in England, hundreds, if not thousands, showed up for a Corpus Christi procession in central London to testify to the truth of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.

Across the Atlantic, Catholics across the United States bore witness to their Catholic faith by many Eucharistic processions from coast to coast, amid an effort by the American Catholic Church to engage the faithful in a “National Eucharistic Revival” to promote the Eucharistic presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the African country of Malawi, over 2,000 Catholics took part in a Eucharistic procession at the St. Martin de Porres parish of Mzuzu Diocese.

Established in Liege, Belgium, in 1247, the feast of Corpus Christi was extended to the universal Church about twenty years later by Pope Urban IV. Subsequently, Corpus Christi processions ensued.

Popes on the Eucharist

An excerpt from Pope Leo XIII’s 1902 encyclical on the Eucharist, Mirae Caritatis, reads:

“Moreover, in this most admirable Sacrament, which is the chief means whereby men are engrafted on the divine nature, men also find the most efficacious help towards progress in every kind of virtue. And first of all, in faith. In all ages faith has been attacked; for although it elevates the human mind by bestowing on it the knowledge of the highest truths, yet because, while it makes known the existence of divine mysteries, it yet leaves in obscurity the mode of their being, it is therefore thought to degrade the intellect. But whereas in past times particular articles of faith have been made by turns the object of attack; the seat of war has since been enlarged and extended, until it has come to this, that men deny altogether that there is anything above and beyond nature. Now nothing can be better adapted to promote a renewal of the strength and fervor of faith in the human mind than the mystery of the Eucharist, the ‘mystery of faith,’ as it has been most appropriately called.”

Furthermore, just as Pope John Paul II stated in his 2003 encyclical on the Eucharist, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, that “the Eucharist is too great a gift to tolerate ambiguity and depreciation,” so too, the Eucharist is “too great a gift” to not publicly venerate it in the midst of Catholics and unbelievers alike.

Publicly expressing the Catholic doctrine in the Real Presence in a reverent procession will aid Catholics to also proclaim the Kingship of Jesus Christ, not just in churches, but in the public arena. Catholics who wish to declare the Royalty of Jesus Christ via public Eucharistic processions can best do so by having recourse to His Holy Mother. After all, it was Blessed Virgin Mary who, after having conceived the Word of God, traveled from Nazareth to Hebron to visit St. Elizabeth, in the very first Eucharistic procession that ever happened in the history of mankind.

Angeline Tan

Angeline Tan is a Catholic who enjoys reading and writing about history and politics. Her two favorite Marian books are "True Devotion to Mary" by St. Louis de Montfort and "The Glories of Mary" by St. Alphonsus Liguori's.

Angeline Tan

Angeline Tan is a Catholic who enjoys reading and writing about history and politics. Her two favorite Marian books are "True Devotion to Mary" by St. Louis de Montfort and "The Glories of Mary" by St. Alphonsus Liguori's.