This post appeared in the Sunday, June 19, bulletin of St. Michael Catholic Church.
This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, or Corpus Christi. If you are reading this before noon on Sunday, you are not too late to join us for our annual Corpus Christi procession. Weather permitting, we will process with the Blessed Sacrament held high to bless our community in all four directions, with Scripture, incense, and Adoration, at four outdoor altars. In case of rain, a much shorter procession moves around the worship space.
The May 2020 issue of DISCIPLE shared the history of such processions in our community:
St. Michael has a tradition of community processions dating to its earliest days as a frontier parish:
Particularly important in farming communities like St. Michael were Rogation Days, special days in the spring of the year when the congregation gathered to pray for good weather for the growing season. Rogation Days (three in a row) included mass and then a procession around the village led by the pastor. These were somewhat somber processions, expressions of humility before God. These processions occurred during the middle of the work week, and even though it was prime time for getting field work done, few farmers neglected to attend Rogation Days services. – Faith, Family and Farming: A History of St. Michael, Minnesota, Bob Zahler, pg. 175
Corpus Christi processions were another common tradition here, especially during the tenure of Fr. Anton Miks, who was pastor from 1904 to 1937. Each year on the Feast of Corpus Christi (the Body of Christ) in late May or early June, the priest processed with a monstrance beneath a canopy through the entire village, stopping at four chapels stationed like the points on a compass and decorated with flowers and statues. The congregation and village band processed as well, bearing banners and offering hymns to God.“Eucharistic Processions Bring Jesus to the People,” DISCIPLE (May 2020)
This tradition is a favorite of mine, because it illustrates so clearly how we, as Catholic Christians ought to navigate the world—especially during Election Year already filled with venom and division. In this procession, we are visible, peaceful, prayerful, bringing Jesus to the world, spreading His blessing and sowing seeds of faith among people who need it (whether they want it or not). We share, in a compelling way, what we believe to be true: that Jesus Christ is not only still relevant, but still truly present in our world, in the Holy Eucharist and in His Body the Church.
In times of confusing, conflict, and great errors rooted in sin, may our quiet, public witness speak the truth of our faith more loudly than campaign commercials, protests, and violence—on Corpus Christi and every day.