Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Corpus Christi Procession to the Cathedral in St Paul

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Photo by "Z"

Sunday was Corpus Christi Sunday, one of the holiest feasts in the Catholic Calendar. Pentecost is followed first by Trinity Sunday, the official end of the Easter Season. Then comes Corpus Christi, traditionally a feast to be publicly celebrated by processions of the faithful around and to their church, led by the pastor carrying the Body of Christ in the Monstrance normally just used at Benediction services.

Upwards of 1,000 people showed up for this year's celebration in St. Paul. It started at the Residence facility of the Little Sisters of the Poor near Seven Corners in St. Paul.

The Little Sisters' home looked especially nice this year being that they are celebrating their 125 jubilee of their presence in St Paul in two weeks. Why not pay them a visit on that day. They have a beautiful chapel and a wonderful outdoor garden in the back with a view of the Mississippi.

At 2:15, punctually, the procession started down Exchange, led by a Master of Ceremonies, acolytes from the St. Paul Seminary escorting Father Joseph Johnson, rector of the Cathedral carrying the monstrance. He was followed by a good sized company of priests, sisters and brothers and then the people from the pews. Some in the procession carried radios that transmitted the prayers and hymns of two cantors at the head of the march so that everybody could be more or less on the same note/word.

The procession wended its way down through Irvine Park, beautifully decorated with flowers by the parade committee, and continued on to Eagle Drive and Kellogg Boulevard and thence moved rather rapidly about 3/4 of a mile straight up the hill to the Cathedral. Being in the rear of the procession and not being able to catch up with the leaders, it could be stated that only three people are known not to have completed the procession. One debated jumping on a St Paul Police horse, but instead caught a bus.

The St. Paul Police Reserves did a great job as the procession was twice as large as was expected. But cars stopped in traffic did not seem to exhibit any impatience.

Kudos to Father Johnson for doing his part without using any substitutes during the steep parts.

Our new Archbishop John Nienstedt was waiting at the Cathedral and led the congregation in hymns, Benediction and gave a fine Corpus Christi homily.

An ice cream social that was quite well attended on the gorgeous afternoon was held in the back of the Cathedral afterwards. Archbishop Nienstedt reappeared in Choir Dress, the red cassock and lace white surplice worn by bishops on formal occasions. He looked pretty smashing.

Also pretty smashing were all the priests gussied up in their cassocks. It's good to see that. Actually on a warm and humid day, I'd bet that they might have been more comfortable than pants.

Father John Zuhlsdorf, the famous "Father Z" of the Catholic blogging pantheon, former St. Agnes parishioner, who blogs from Rome and Wisconsin, made an appearance, took a few photos as he must have jogged up the hill and pumped the flesh of almost everyone there. He has posted pictures on Corpus Christi around the country, and in St. Paul, here.




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