The Catholic Church in the United States is in the midst of a Eucharistic Revival. What began on the Feast of Corpus Christi in 2022, as an effort of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to fuel Eucharistic piety in American Catholics, is now in full swing. My news feeds over the weekend were full of pictures and videos of Eucharistic processions taking place all over the country. In July, 2024, the National Eucharistic Revival will culminate with a Eucharistic Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. In the week leading up to the National Eucharistic Conference, four Eucharistic processions (known as the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage) will make their way to Indianapolis from New Haven, Connecticut, Brownsville, Texas, San Francisco, California, and Lake Itasca, Minnesota.
As these pilgrimages make their way through the different cities along their respective routes, they will be engaging in Eucharistic processions, bearing witness to Christ's Real Presence… except when they go through Chicago. It was reported in April in various sources including The Pillar, Catholic News Agency, National Catholic Register, Catholic Culture, LifeSite and others that Blaise Cardinal Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, would not allow exposition of the Blessed Sacrament during the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage’s journey through the Archdiocese of Chicago. According to The Pillar, Cardinal Cupich’s concern is that, “an emphasis on adoration could distract from catechesis about the importance of the Mass.” Does Cupich not understand that one of the main elements of the Mass is Adoration of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist? Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a big fan of The Second Vatican Council, however, one thing the Council got right is its statement on the Eucharist - “The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life” (Lumen Gentium, 11).
While Cardinal Cupich is prohibiting exposition of the Blessed Sacrament during Eucharistic processions in the Archdiocese of Chicago, Bishop Earl K. Fernandes, in the Diocese of Columbus just finished a ten day stretch where he personally led eleven Eucharistic Processions. These Masses and processions took place in different geographic regions of the Diocese in order to give as many people as possible the opportunity to not only celebrate Mass with the Bishop, but to also participate in a Eucharistic procession. One of those Masses and processions took place at the Oratory of St. Leo the Great, an apostolate of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICKSP) on Thursday, June 8 - the traditional date of the Feast of Corpus Christi. If you are not aware, the ICKSP is a society of priests whose charism is the celebration of Mass and the sacraments according to the traditional rites of the Church.
St. Leo celebrated a Solemn High Mass with Pontifical Assistance at the Throne. In this Mass, the bishop is not the chief celebrant, but he is intricately involved - leading the prayers at the foot of the altar, blessing the incense, giving the sermon, and offering several other blessings throughout the Mass, including the offering of a pontifical blessing to the faithful. The chief celebrant of the Mass was Msgr. Gilles Wach, the founder and Prior General of the ICKSP. The Mass was absolutely beautiful, with St. Leo’s choir singing a Kyrie by Joan Brudieu (d. 1591), Gloria - Missa Puer Natus Est by Thomas Tallis (d. 1585), Credo III, Sanctus IV (Missa Cunctipotens Genitor Deus) and Benedictus by William Byrd (d. 1623), and an Agnus Dei arranged by their choir director, Ross Schmittgen.
Bishop Fernandes give the sermon during Mass on the Feast of Corpus Christi.
Following Mass, the five hundred faithful in attendance took to the streets of Merion Village, a turn of the twentieth century neighborhood on the south side of Columbus, His Excellency, Bishop Earl K. Fernandes, leading the way. As the faithful processed through Merion Village, they prayed the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary and sang hymns. Residents of Merion Village watched from their homes, many making the sign of the cross as the procession passed by, praying the Rosary along with faithful, and even singing the hymns. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and Tom Berryhill, a St. Leo parishioner, did a fantastic job of capturing the beauty of both the Mass and the Procession.
The Eucharistic procession makes its way through Merion Village.
The Eucharistic procession returns to St. Leo.