Corpus Christi procession is June 2 at St. Benedict Cathedral

St. Benedict Cathedral’s Corpus Christi Procession in 2022 was led by Bishop Joseph M. Siegel. Many parishioners and faithful followed, sang hymns and offered prayers during the one-mile procession around the parish property. Submitted photo

By John Payne

Special to The Message

Corpus Christi is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. It celebrates the Real Presence of Christ — Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity — in the Holy Eucharist. The feast of Corpus Christi was first proposed by St. Thomas Aquinas to Pope Urban IV in 1264 to create a feast focused solely on the Holy Eucharist.

The traditional method of celebration is a Eucharistic procession after Mass that can extend anywhere from around the parish property to many miles around the town. Through the years, the practice grew to what we still do today, a procession with Christ in the Monstrance. Along the route, there are “prayer stops” at three locations.

In 2022, Bishop Joseph M. Siegel led the Corpus Christi procession at St. Benedict Cathedral in Evansville. Submitted photo

A temporary altar is set up and the minister carrying the Monstrance places Jesus on the altar. Incense is used to venerate the Blessed Sacrament. A Gospel passage and Collect Prayer is read, the minister blesses the crowd with the Blessed Sacrament, and the procession continues. Typically, those in the procession will sing and pray the Rosary or the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

St. Benedict Cathedral has held a Corpus Christi Procession annually since 2012. Archbishop Charles C. Thompson of Indianapolis, then serving as bishop of Evansville, promoted reviving the Corpus Christi Procession. At that time, the procession began at Annunciation Parish’s Christ the King campus and proceeded west to St. Benedict Cathedral, concluding with Benediction. 

As the years progressed, and as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers changed the route to around the block of St. Benedict Cathedral’s parish property. Now it is a one-mile procession from St. Benedict Cathedral north on Harlan Avenue to Walnut Street; then east on Walnut to Runnymeade Avenue, then south on Runnymeade to Lincoln Avenue; then west on Lincoln to the cathedral.

The procession includes Eucharistic hymns, the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet and three prayer stops along the route. It concludes with Benediction inside the cathedral. Organizers will have water tables along the route, and the Knights of Columbus will again carry the Eucharistic canopy to protect the Monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament and the minister from the elements.

When his schedule allows, Diocese of Evansville Bishop Joseph M. Siegel participates. 

It has been good to see many parishes across the diocese start their own tradition with the Corpus Christi procession. If your parish doesn’t host one, St. Benedict Cathedral’s procession is immediately after the 10:30 a.m. CDT Mass June 2. Volunteer police officers keep the faithful safe along the walk. All are welcome to join in the public display of love and adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus; the Corpus Christi.