by Joe Bollig
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Color the annual Corpus Christi procession beautiful this year, thanks to the incorporation of a Brazilian custom, courtesy of the Fraternity the Poor of Jesus Christ.
In preparation for the June 18 feast day procession, both the men and women religious of the Brazilian- based order will be making a colorful “tapete,” or carpet, of dyed sawdust or wood chips arranged in religious symbols and pictures on a short part of the procession’s route on North 22nd Street.
The tapete will cover almost the entire width of the street, which will be closed to vehicle traffic.
Sister Magdalena of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, PJC, the fraternity’s local leader, or custodian, explained.
“We’ll have liturgical designs” in the sawdust, she said.
“That’s going to make a little pathway [where] the archbishop will walk with the Blessed Sacrament. Only the archbishop carrying the Blessed Sacrament and those carrying the canopy, which we made last year, will walk on the carpet.”
Construction of the tapete will begin at 3 p.m. the afternoon before. First, an outline will be drawn in chalk on the street by Jerry Snyder, a member of Annunciation Parish in Overland Park.
Then, a group of 10 to 20 friars, Sisters, fraternity associates and volunteers will place the sawdust or wood chips according to the pattern, filling it in like a big puzzle. It will reach almost from gutter to gutter.
“We’ll cover it with plastic,” said Sister Magdelena. “We’ll hope that there isn’t a strong wind or any rain.”
The first tapete was created last year.
“The Sisters and the friars suggested doing it because they thought it would be fun and something that would be nice to do during Corpus Christi for the Lord,” said Sister Magdelena.
“It’s done with a lot of labor and a lot of love,” she continued. “It’s only there for that moment, when the Blessed Sacrament is carried over that part of the processional route, and then it’s torn apart.”
This will be the 10th year the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph have held a jointly sponsored Corpus Christi procession. Generally, the archdiocese and diocese take turns hosting the procession on their respective sides of the state line.
This year’s procession on June 18 will begin and end at Blessed Sacrament Church, 2203 Parallel Pkwy., in Kansas City, Kansas. A Holy Hour begins at 1 p.m., followed by the procession at 2 p.m. There will be stops at three stations for prayer on the route. The procession will conclude with Benediction at the church, followed by a social.