Corpus Christi procession takes Catholicism into the streets



Renewing an ancient European tradition that dates to the 13th century, the parishioners of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine will hold its annual Corpus Christi Procession Sunday following a Solemn Mass at 11 a.m.

The principal celebrant of the Mass will be the Rev. Briggs Hurley, who will have been ordained the previous day by the Most Rev. Felipe Estevez, Bishop of St. Augustine.

The Sunday Mass preceding the Eucharistic Procession will be a Mass of Thanksgiving offered by the newly ordained.

Latin for “The Body of Christ,” the Corpus Christi Procession takes the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist into the streets of the local city.

During the procession of clergy and the faithful, hymns are sung along with the recitation of prayers and litanies. These rituals are a public display of the Catholic faith’s belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

In announcing the annual procession, the Cathedral’s rector, Father Thomas Willis, said, “Obviously this will have special blessings this year since Father-elect Hurley will be participating. And the fact that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has granted a plenary indulgence for the Mass and procession is even more of a blessing and will unite us with him.”

Willis said the procession is significant as a celebration of faith for Catholics.

“Since we believe wholeheartedly that Jesus, our savior, is really and truly present in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the procession through the streets is a very public way of bringing this faith to the world,” Willis said.

The procession route will start at the Cathedral and proceed south on St. George Street to the courtyard of the Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Following a brief service there, the procession will move north on Aviles Street to the Plaza de la Constitución where another brief liturgy will be held in which prayers will be offered for God’s blessings upon all the people of St. Augustine.

The procession will conclude in the Cathedral Basilica where a final Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament will be given by Father-elect Hurley.

Willis encourages Catholics from near and far to join the Cathedral Parish in this annual ritual.

For information, call 824-2806.