Saturday, December 17, 2011

Occupy Christmas: Priests take Eucharistic Lord to the Mall

"Flash Mobs" involving a priest bringing the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance to a public place are on the increase.   I'm heartened to see so much love and devotion for the Eucharist, and on the other hand I am somewhat conflicted.   I think conflict can be healthy as it makes us think and generates discussions. I hope you will weigh in with your thoughts.

Here is the latest, uploaded on December 14th. It happened in California.

One thing I know for sure: The priests and people of St. Raymond Parish are right to ask people to occupy Christmas. We should invite people just the same. Another thing I know is that this action, on the part of the shepherd and members of his flock is a fruit of love for Jesus in the Eucharist. That alone is refreshing considering what we have been through for the past 40-50 years where such things couldn't even be found happening in a parish church! 

Before I got to Assumption Grotto, I don't recall seeing a monstrance here in the US. It was on Corpus Christi in 2005, one of my earliest visits to the parish that I witnessed a Eucharistic procession for the first time. All at once it felt quaint yet mysterious, so much so that I took an interest in understanding all that I was seeing better. It decided to suspend my judgment of the matter, and to come back again and explore some more. 

I know some object to bringing the Eucharist into a crowded mall like this. Those likely to object already have a deep understanding of the Real Presence. I have no doubts about the love and reverence for Our Lord that the priests in this video have, nor do I doubt their good intentions. I can't help but wonder how many people witnessing this, who are not fully aware of the Real Presence might be inspired by the same sense of mystery that captivated me on Corpus Christi of 2005.   It's with that frame of mind that I see a purity and innocence on the part of those who want to share Jesus this way. 

Processions, unlike an event like this, with all of their solemnity and majesty are truly the most reverent and worthy manner of taking Our Lord out on to the street. There, Our Lord is surrounded by many ministers and servers, and covered with an ombrellino or a canopy, somewhat mindful of how the Israelites moved the Ark of the Covenant.

I wonder if we need to do more to make the public and ordinary Catholics aware of the Real Presence inside of our parishes and dioceses.  Actually, I know we need to do more.  How many parishes do not have a monstrance, or have one sitting in some dark corner of a room or basement collecting dust? We need to look at making those events more visible with better advertisement that reaches people who are not in the pews.

I am reminded here of the most moving Eucharistic Procession recorded on these shores. I would like to see more of these organized processions in public, with all that a Eucharistic procession entails.

Yeah - I think stuff like this matters.  All the more splendor that surrounds it, the greater the witness. Perhaps something should be organized, at the diocesan level, on a grand scale during Advent to convince people to "occupy Christmas".   It may not be traditional to have such a Eucharistic procession in Advent, but there are many new traditions worthy of starting.  

* Post updated for clarity.

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!
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