FORT WAYNE — “I am excited to invite the faithful of our diocese to join me in marking the feast of Corpus Christi … with a Eucharistic Procession — this time in Fort Wayne,” Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades said in a letter he wrote to priests of the diocese. Bishop Rhoades will lead a Corpus Christi Eucharistic Procession through the streets of Fort Wayne on Sunday, June 10, beginning at approximately 12:30 p.m. in front of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
“We will stop for Benediction at Headwaters Park and Most Precious Blood Church as we process to Queen of Angels Church, where we will close with Benediction,” Bishop Rhoades said. “Everyone is invited to celebrate afterwards with a fiesta.” The fiesta — or party — is a Hispanic tradition that follows after the Benediction of a Eucharistic Procession.
“Corpus Christi” is Latin for the “Body of Christ.” On the feast of Corpus Christi, Catholics honor the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. This feast is traditionally celebrated through a Eucharistic Procession at which the consecrated host is placed in the monstrance and the congregation reverently follows the Eucharist singing hymns and reciting prayers.
At the conclusion of the procession Benediction takes place. This is a blessing given by making the Sign of the Cross with the exposed Eucharist in the monstrance.
In a letter to first communicants encouraging their participation, Bishop Rhoades said, “There is a tradition in the Church that children who have just received Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time will wear their First Holy Communion attire for the Eucharistic Procession.”
“I hope many of you will wear your suits and dresses and veils,” Bishop Rhoades requested of the first communicants. “It will be a reminder for everyone, including myself, of the reverent love we should have for our Lord.”
He added, “And carrying the Holy Eucharist through our streets and neighborhoods reminds us that we are to carry Jesus with us always, making Him known to others.”
In the letter to priests, Bishop Rhoades said, “Following our Catholics Come Home Campaign and preparing for the coming Year of Faith, this Eucharistic Procession through the heart of Fort Wayne is an opportunity to deepen devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and witness to the hope we have in Him.”
“I look forward to carrying the Holy Eucharist through the city past businesses and homes and the city jail,” Bishop Rhoades said in the letter. “The love of Jesus in the Eucharist and our prayers and hymns along the way are sure to touch many hearts in our community.”
Bishop Rhoades shared a memory as a seminarian in Rome with the first communicants: “(I) had the special privilege of serving Mass for Blessed Pope John Paul II on the feast of Corpus Christi. He came over to us who were serving and told us to always make the Eucharist the center of our lives. I have never forgotten that.”
Bishop Rhoades offered that same encouragement to the first communicants: “May Jesus in the Eucharist always be at the center of your life.”
The faithful are asked to gather outside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception by 12:30 p.m. for the 2.7-mile procession.
Parking will be available, free of charge, at the Archbishop Noll Catholic Center parking garage, located at 915 S. Clinton St. (the entrance to the garage is off of Clinton Street), until it reaches its capacity. Parking is also available at the Grand Wayne Center and other downtown locations for a fee.
Return transportation from Queen of Angels to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception will be available from 3:30 to 5 p.m. All are welcome to move their vehicles to Queen of Angels and continue the celebration at the concluding fiesta.
Parking at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception will be available for those with special needs.
The route and parish stops are all handicap accessible, however, some areas of the route may be a little rough due to cobblestone. Those who are unable to take part in the procession are invited to meet the procession at the stops for Benediction at Headwaters Park, Most Precious Blood and Queen of Angels. Those in need of special assistance or have any questions regarding special needs, contact Mary Glowaski at (260) 399-1458.
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