Here comes everybody
by Joe Bollig
It’s what we would like to be, but often are not — buttoned down, neatly organized, running like clockwork.
Despite organizers’ best efforts, this year’s Corpus Christi procession — set for June 26 at Holy Trinity Parish, 9150 Pflumm Rd., Lenexa — will not present as pristine an image as our artist has rendered for us here.
Because, frankly, we Catholics are a motley crew. And when it comes to the Catholic Church, well, as James Joyce put it so famously, “here comes everybody.”
A real-life Corpus Christi procession, therefore, is just that — a procession of “everybody” — young and old, rich and poor, black, white, weak, strong — everybody drawn to attest publicly to the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.
“We don’t always, as Catholics, see eye – to – eye on all sorts of matters,” said archdiocesan liturgy consultant Michael Podrebarac. “But when it comes to the essentials of our faith, there is unity.”
“Catholics of all different ages, cultures and points of view on discretionary matters can come together,” he continued, “and not only witness [to], but be a part of the essential unity of the faith in an outward and visible way by participating in the Corpus Christi procession.”
As has been the tradition since 2007, the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph will observe the solemnity of Corpus Christi in a joint procession. This year’s procession will start from and wind up at Holy Trinity Parish in Lenexa.
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann and Bishop Robert W. Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph are leading the procession to demonstrate the reality of the church’s unity, which supersedes any administrative boundaries.
“The Eucharist lies at the core of our unity as Catholics, so [joint sponsorship of the procession] is an apt expression of the unity of the two dioceses, since we share the greater metropolitan area of Kansas City,” said Podrebarac. “It provides an opportunity for a common witness of our eucharistic faith.”
All Catholics from the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph are encouraged to observe the solemnity of Corpus Christi at the joint procession or at their own parish.
“Certainly Archbishop Naumann encourages parishes to hold their own Corpus Christi processions, because the relative size of the archdiocese makes it impossible for everyone to attend the procession,” said Podrebarac.
“The diocesan procession in no way is designed to take away the importance of local devotion to the Blessed Sacrament on this feast,” he continued. “It gives the archbishop, however, as pastor of the diocesan church, an opportunity to gather the faithful and make a public witness of our faith as a diocesan church.”
Non-Catholics will be a part of the Corpus Christi procession as well, but as ones who witness. It is hoped that they will observe this event with respect and decorum — but also with curiosity, said Podrebarac.
“[We hope that] those not in communion with the Catholic Church will receive from us a witness that — despite all the problems we have as Christians, despite even the difficulties we find in our own church — that it is really Christ who is at the center of everything we believe and everything we do.”
“It is Christ whose body we are members of, and it is Christ in whom we find our unity,” he continued. “No matter what the headlines say about the church or what we even experience ourselves in the church, Christ is our high priest, our focus, our Lord and Savior. We as Catholics are proud of the fact that Christ promised to remain with us — not only spiritually, but also bodily in the Eucharist.”