On Sunday, June 11, 2023, Catholics throughout the United States will observe the Solemnity of Corpus Christi (the Body and Blood of Christ). To celebrate this day, St. Stephen’s parish is hosting its annual street procession of the Blessed Sacrament starting at St. Stephen’s Church, around 1 p.m., (immediately following the noon Mass) and ending at approximately 2:15 p.m., back at St. Stephen’s. This is a particularly important time for Catholics because it is on this day the Catholic Church in the United States continues on a three-year National Eucharistic Revival initiative at the parish level.
We caught up with the Rev. Joseph Mancini, pastor of St. Stephen’s, to discuss the street procession, its meaning and what the Eucharistic Revival is all about.
Q: What is a Corpus Christi procession?
Fr. Joe: The Corpus Christi procession, most often held on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, is a public witness of faith and worship of the Most Blessed Sacrament. It’s founded upon the church’s belief that Jesus becomes substantially present to us in the Eucharist at Mass. The Corpus Christi procession is one of a number of ways that we express our devotion to Christ. A procession of the Blessed Sacrament involves the priest carrying the consecrated Host in a special container called the Monstrance. Parishioners will follow singing hymns and praying together.
Q: Why should one participate in the Corpus Christi procession?
Fr. Joe: The annual procession on the feast of Corpus Christi has a special importance and meaning for the pastoral life of the parish and the town. When the Eucharist is carried through the street in a solemn procession, our parishioners not only will follow behind singing hymns and praying together in a public witness of our faith in Jesus Christ’s presence with us, but it will also be an opportunity for us to pray for the local community and its needs.
Q: What is the National Eucharistic Revival all about?
Fr. Joe: The National Eucharistic Revival, sponsored by the U.S. Catholic bishops, began a three-year initiative in 2022 beginning with the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, or Corpus Christi, and has as its mission to “renew the Church by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.”
Sponsored by the U.S. bishops, the revival aims to inspire people to encounter Jesus in the Eucharist.
The Eucharistic Revival aims to inspire, educate and unite. In a world where not many people know Jesus intimately, the revival is meant to show everyone what wonders the true presence of Jesus can do to heal the soul. Through a carefully planned timeline of events, after three years, the U.S. bishops hope to change the lives of many Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
Q: Why are the U.S. bishops doing this?
Fr. Joe: Great question. The current world is hurting and straying far from God. According to Pew Research Center, only 31% of Catholics even believe in the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist. It is up to that 31% to spread the truth to all. As the revival website says, “We all need healing, yet many of us are separated from the very source of our strength. Jesus Christ invites us to return to the source and summit of our faith — his Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist.”
It’s a time to confront the hardships that face people in everyday life. The National Eucharistic Revival is a powerful, uplifting way to rise to this challenge.
Q: How does the Eucharistic Revival work at the parish level?
Fr. Joe: On the Solemnity of Corpus Christi this year, June 11, 2023, we will be begin the parish Eucharistic Revival year (June 2023-July 2024). This year promises to be an impactful phase of the multi-year response. For the Eucharistic Revival to be successful, parishes must fulfill their key role in boldly proclaiming the Gospel. The purpose of the Year of Parish Revival is to discern how we might “heal, form, convert, unify and send” our parishioners through a “rekindled relationship with Jesus in the Eucharist.”
Thank you Fr. Joe for your time and we look forward to hearing more about the initiative in the coming year.
Fr Joe: Thank you for taking the time to hear about the Solemnity of Corpus Christi and the exciting initiative on the Eucharistic Revival.
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.