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Archbishop Christian Lepine led thousands of the faithful through the streets of Montreal last night in this year’s annual Corpus Christi eucharistic procession.

 

By Alan Hustak for VMO
Friday, June 20th, 2014

Archbishop Christian Lepine led thousands of the faithful through the streets of Montreal last night in this year’s annual Corpus Christi eucharistic procession.  

The feast of the body and blood of Christ began with a Mass at Cathédrale Marie- Reine-du-Monde and ended four hours later after benediction at St. Patrick’s Basilica.

In his homily, Archbishop Lepine told an overflow congregation in the Cathedral that it takes courage to publicly witness our faith in the Blessed Sacrament. He challenged the faithful to ask themselves how they organize their lives in front of Jesus, and reminded them that Christian life is not only about solitary prayer but equally about loving service to neighbor and community.

It was the fourteenth year the local Roman Catholic community has observed the event with a street procession between two churches, and the first from the cathedral to St. Catherine Street to Phillips Square and then to St. Patrick’s.

Michael Rankin and his family of six vacationing from Connecticut were staying at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel when they saw the procession and decided to join in.

“We were surprised, yes. We certainly didn’t expect anything like this,” said Rankin. “It was really uplifting. We asked a priest on the street what was going on and just joined in.”

It was the first time Elizabeth Borigfen had shown up for the celebration.

“I am impressed with the turn out,” she said, “It really is amazing.”

Teenagers Joachim Murphy, 18, Jeremy Bergeron 14 and his sister 12-year old sister Elyson “(it’s pronounced Elieson, like Kyrie Elieson”) were happy to have shared in the experience.

“It’s good, really good, to be here,” said Joachim, who walked last year and brought his friends with him this year.”

Adam Filion said he shares the experience of Corpus Christi from his youth in France, and said he was pleased that no one was harassed as the procession move down St. Catherine Street.

“In some countries you could not do this,” he said. “We are very lucky here to be able to pray publicly like this.”

Father Peter Sabbath, who organized the first contemporary procession in 2000, said he was pleased with this year’s turnout but thought last year’s was larger. But as Rev. Robert Gendreau, responsible for pastoral services for liturgy pointed out, because the route was changed, more people saw this year’s procession.  Many watched in respectful silence, and a few even genuflected on the street as the monstrance passed.

Corpus Christi has been observed since 1247 after Juliana of Liège, a 13th century Belgian nun, petitioned her local bishop to set aside a day for the special veneration of the Blessed Sacrement. Until 2000, the procession had been a modest affair around Place d’Armes in Old Montreal.

 

 

 

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