Jennifer Barton
June 22, 2022 // Bishop

Eucharistic Procession unites Catholics throughout diocese

Jennifer Barton

Catholics in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend gave a tremendous testimony for the faith and the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist as thousands flocked to Warsaw for the Eucharistic Procession and Festival on Sunday, June 19. The crowd seemed to grow from the onset of the three and a half hour walk from Sacred Heart Parish to Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish. Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades led the procession, carrying the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance the entire 2.8 miles with one stop at Central Park.

Molly Gettinger
Thousands of Catholics in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend celebrate the kickoff to the three-year Eucharistic Revival at the Eucharistic Procession and Festival on June 19, with Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades carrying the Blessed Sacrament through the streets of Warsaw.

Excitement bubbled among the crowd at the much-anticipated event, and there was great reverence and solemnity when Bishop Rhoades brought forth the Eucharist for exposition at the beginning of the procession and during adoration times. Various hymns floated in the air as priests raised their voices in age-old hymns at the head of the procession, while members of St. Augustine Parish sang African spirituals and Gospel songs farther down the line. Others prayed the rosary as they walked along or carried pictures of the Blessed Mother, icons or crucifixes.

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Nearly every parish in the diocese, if not all parishes, seemed to be represented at the procession, sporting matching t-shirts or following their parish banner. Multicolored umbrellas bobbed above the heads of many in the vast crowd, not to protect people from rain, but to provide shade from the brilliant sunlight overhead. In the neighborhoods, some residents stood on their porches to take photographs or watch the worshippers walk by, and a few of the onlookers displayed Catholic objects such as statues of Mary. 

Amy Kleinrichert

The day drew people of different backgrounds and ethnicities, decked out in colorful clothing, all gathered for the singular purpose of proclaiming the greatest truth of the Catholic Church. A group of Nigerian Catholics joyously sang in Igbo and danced as they walked along, with some of the missionary priests from that country joining in their festivities. Their choir performed when the procession stopped at the altar in Central Park. A population of Burmese Catholics from Fort Wayne took part in the procession, led by Father Peter Dee De, Parochial Vicar at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne and boasted a choir that sang in the prelude. Vietnamese and Filipino choirs rounded out the prelude performances.

Age was no barrier to attendance, either. Youths pushed the aged in wheelchairs, families with teenagers and infants processed in company, couples both young and elderly joined the throng. 

Aside from the priests and seminarians leading the procession, other clergy and religious men and women attended, including several Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, Holy Cross priests and brothers and more. 

Molly Gettinger

The Gettinger family from St. Thérèse Little Flower Parish in South Bend attended with their children. Eight-year-old boy John said it was “a walking adoration, like an adoration parade. It was very awesome!”

His mother Megan enjoyed sharing the experience with her husband and four children and others in their parish family. Her favorite memory was jogging their double stroller across the grass at Central Park to get “as close as we could to see Jesus.”

Megan commented that “It was such a joy to witness so many Catholics gathered together around the One who unites us, Jesus present in the Eucharist.”

Her husband, Hank, agreed. “It was really powerful to have everyone praying together in a public way. It’s important for us to not only remind ourselves that Jesus is truly present, but also to speak the truth boldly with our actions. It reminded me of the Old Testament, when the Jewish people would process with the tabernacle.”

Jennifer Barton

A group of pilgrims from St. Mary of the Presentation in Geneva made the long trip to be present at the procession. Penny Wiseman, Jeanette Johnson and Catherine Regedanz spoke afterwards. Wiseman said of the day: “It was just wonderful to see all the churches working together, and the turnout was fantastic.”

She stated that they are “probably from the farthest church in this diocese. We’re almost to the Ohio line and way down by Jay County, so we came a long way.” But, she continued, “It was well worth it.”

The ladies remarked how they had been speaking among themselves about how this was “what the Catholic Church needs,” said Regedanz.

“We’re glad to be a part of it,” she said.

Eric Peat

Chris Langford, one of the main organizers of the event, professed his gratitude for those who attended and those who helped make the day possible. “We are especially grateful to the City of Warsaw for their outstanding support in hosting us. And we are tremendously thankful for the hundreds of volunteers who made the event so successful.”

“It was particularly rewarding to have the participation of so many cultures in our diocese, manifesting the unity of our universal Church.”

He stated that the event was “really beautiful,” and was pleased that everything came together to give honor to the Lord.

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