By Celine Klosterman
MUSCATINE — Sometimes, it can be a stretch to demonstrate your faith publicly, said Nancy Roberson.
But the member of Ss. Mary & Mathias Parish wanted to take part in a public witness June 14 during her parish’s second-annual procession on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, also known as the feast of Corpus Christi. She thought the parish’s multicultural event, which followed a bilingual Mass, would bring the community together and help her and others better appreciate Hispanic culture.
So she joined more than 270 others in a walk Sunday that stretched for blocks down the streets of Muscatine. Marchers sang in English, Spanish and Latin while holding banners proclaiming “This is my body…this is my blood” and publicizing the former Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission in Muscatine. Knights of Columbus in full regalia, altar servers in red robes and other parishioners followed Father Jason Crossen, pastor, as he processed with the monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament.
The procession was one of several that took place in the Davenport Diocese June 13 and 14.
Celebrating the 745-year-old feast is one of many ways we honor Jesus in the Eucharist, said Fr. Crossen during his homily. The procession was a public way of doing so, he noted.
“In the Eucharist we find the sustenance we need” to better face life’s difficulties, Fr. Crossen said.
Parishioners followed the procession with benediction at St. Mathias Church, where plaques hung detailing eucharistic miracles worldwide.
Ss. Mary & Mathias began celebrating the feast day after parishioner Russ Hillman witnessed Pope Benedict XVI’s Corpus Christi procession in Rome three years ago. “I thought it was something that needed to be done in our parish,” he said.
He and parishioner Sharon Froelich put together a canopy to shield the Eucharist during the procession, after discovering pre-made canopies cost more than $1,000.
He said that about 130 people took part in the celebration last year. That number more than doubled this year for several reasons, said Hillman, one of which he suggested was Ss. Mary & Mathias’ introduction of a bilingual Mass.
Hillman welcomes inquiries from other parishes interested in celebrating the feast: e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It’s a way of letting the whole community know there’s still Christians out there who really practice their faith,” said parishioner Connie Fischer.