As the three-year Eucharistic Revival prepares to kick-off on the Feast of Corpus Christi, Sunday, June 19, several parishes throughout the Diocese of Nashville are planning Eucharistic processions.
Just as the Eucharistic Revival is meant to bring back to the forefront the Eucharist as the source and summit of the Catholic faith and the belief in the Real Presence, so does the Feast of Corpus Christi and Eucharistic processions.
And the parishes of the diocese will join parishes all around the world.
“Whenever the Church has a procession, symbolically it represents the whole Church walking together,” said Father Bede Price, pastor of the Church of the Assumption in Germantown. “Processions encourage people to meditate and express their beliefs in the centrality of the Eucharist and in Christian life.
“It is like regular adoration,” he said. “All these things nourish us and encourage that belief, so the more of these things that we do, the better we will be.
“Sometimes it can seem like the Eucharist is reduced just to the Mass, that the Mass is the only place where you encounter that,” Father Price continued. “But adoration in private, adoration in public, and certainly Corpus Christi is a crescendo of that, so all the fruit of the adoration time finds its expression on Corpus Christi. It is like all those silent hours caught during the year, they come to the big public expression of that.”
“It’s really amazing in Germantown (when processions take place) because we walk through the streets and in all the restaurants people are standing around staring at us,” Father Price said. “But, in general, people have been very respectful of it. I think it’s a shock to them to see Catholics expressing their faith in public, but I think they love the fact that it adds to the character of the Germantown neighborhood.”
During Eucharistic Processions, the priest elevates the monstrance, exposing Christ, and leads the people, as they follow behind often singing songs and praying.
“It is getting at what is the heart of (Catholicism). Catholicism is an embodied religion. We listen to scripture, we pray prayers, but also, our Lord is present in the Eucharist,” said Father Richard Childress, pastor of St. John Vianney Church in Gallatin.
As the Eucharistic Revival begins, “what better way to (kick it off) than to actually (walk outside) with our Lord himself, the Eucharist, and process with him and celebrate him and sing songs to him,” Father Childress said.
“Being able to do these Eucharistic processions, being able to have this emphasis from the Church on the whole in the United States (on the teaching of the Real Presence), that’s going to be great and there is going to be a lot of fruit from that,” Father Childress added. “And I hope what comes out of it is basically more faith in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist and more devotion to our Lord now and always.”
Diocesan initiatives that are part of the Eucharistic Revival will begin on June 20. They will include a three-year catechetical conference, catechetical resources available diocesan-wide, retreats for lay leaders and more. There will also be collaboration with religious education directors and the Catholic schools to plan curriculum that focuses more on the teaching of the Real Presence.
There will also be a point person established at each parish to serve as a liaison between their parish and the diocesan Office of Faith Formation, which is leading the efforts.
The Revival will culminate in the first National Eucharistic Congress in almost 50 years, from July 17-21, 2024, in Indianapolis.
While Ed Bauer, who has been designated point person for St. John Vianney, hopes he can be a source of inspiration to his fellow parishioners, he thinks the success of the revival starts with the priests.
“The priest has the charism. Priests in general have a charism not only to preach … but graces come from the priest that go into the heart of the people, and Jesus and the Holy Spirit begins to change them,” Bauer said. “What we as lay persons have to do is just inspire, and if we inspire then God will do the rest.”
But Bauer said he thinks the Eucharistic processions and adoration are the best places to start.
“The procession is basically honoring and loving the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus who is exposed in the monstrance,” Bauer said. “When we do that, the grace from that procession comes into everyone in the procession, so Jesus is automatically changing hearts and changing people.
“God’s will, has allowed themselves, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to be seen and worshipped by us in adoration,” he added, “increasing our holiness in ourselves, our families, the Church, and the entire world.”
Scheduled Eucharistic Processions are as follows:
- Cathedral of the Incarnation, West End Ave., Nashville, immediately following the 11 a.m. Mass on Sunday, June 19, to be celebrated by Bishop J. Mark Spalding. The procession will be followed by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament until 2 p.m. with Benediction celebrated by Father Eric Fowlkes, pastor of the Cathedral.
- Church of the Assumption, 1227 7th Ave. North, Nashville, at 10:15 a.m. Sunday, June 19. The procession will begin in the green space next to Father Bernard Hall and go around one city block. The procession will include bagpipes from the Lancers Pipes & Drums as well as include the children receiving their First Holy Communion at the weekend Masses dressed up in their special attire. Assumption welcomes anyone who wishes to join the procession, especially if their parish does not have one.
- St. Henry Church, 6401 Harding Pike, Nashville, immediately following the 9 a.m. Mass on Sunday, June 19. The procession will be led by Father Mark Beckman, pastor of St. Henry, and begin in the front of the Church and walk around the St. Henry Church and School campus. The Knights of Columbus Council 12012 will also be in attendance.
- St. John Vianney, 449 N. Water Ave., Gallatin, immediately following the 10:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, June 19. The procession will begin at the large church and process around the campus and end at the small church. The procession will include the singing of hymns and opportunities to stop and pray at devotional altars set up by parishioners.
- St. Joseph Church, 1225 Gallatin Pike S., Madison, immediately following the 8:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, June 19. The procession will begin in front of the church and process around the exterior of the school building.
- St. Philip the Apostle Church, 113 2nd Ave. S, Franklin, immediately following the 1 p.m. Spanish Mass on Sunday, June 19. The procession will begin in front of the main doors of the Church and walk around the block.
- St. Rose of Lima Church, 1601 N. Tennessee Blvd., Murfreesboro, immediately following the 5 p.m. Mass on Sunday, June 19. The procession will be immediately followed by a farewell reception for Father John Sims Baker, pastor of St. Rose, who will be leaving to join the St. Bernard Monastery in Cullman, Alabama.