Triumphant Corpus Christi procession

Archbishop Richard Smith carried the Blessed Sacrament during the Corpus Christi procession.

WCR PHOTO | CHRIS MILLER

Archbishop Richard Smith carried the Blessed Sacrament during the Corpus Christi procession.

July 4, 2011
CHRIS MILLER
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Downtown motorists, people waiting at bus stops and those looking out from their apartment balconies saw Catholics proceeding through the streets.

Many of the general public asked what was going on. Those in the procession were quick to respond that they are Catholics, and that this was the archdiocese's Corpus Christi procession.

The Eucharist, the true presence of Christ, is central to the Catholic faith. The annual Corpus Christi procession June 26 was a time for highlighting the Eucharist publicly.

Following a Corpus Christi Mass, 12:15 p.m. at St. Joseph's Basilica, Catholics proudly walked through downtown Edmonton behind the Blessed Sacrament. Youth led the procession with a replica of the World Youth Day cross. Knights of Columbus in full regalia and people holding parish banners followed.

Archbishop Richard Smith, along with two Franciscans and priests wearing white vestments, carried the Blessed Sacrament through the streets in a golden monstrance. Smith has carried the Holy Eucharist in procession every year since 2007. He led prayer at the four prayer stations.

FAMILY TRADITION

The Lagrange family comes to the procession every year.

Catholics of various organizations show their colors in the procession.

WCR PHOTO | CHRIS MILLER

Catholics of various organizations show their colors in the procession.

"It's a yearly tradition for our family where we celebrate what the Church celebrates, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ," said Colleen Lagrange.

"Our faith is important to us as a family, and we like to do things with the kids that have a religious significance, but still have a component of fun in it as well."

Every year the Lagranges take part in both the procession and the barbecue that follows next to Grandin School.

The procession went east along Jasper Avenue and then turned south on 111th Street, stopping at four prayer stations en route.

Colleen's husband, Tony, helped set up the stations at Edmonton General Hospital, St. Joachim's Church, Ezio Farone Park and Grandin Park.

"It's a nice day for it. The weather always seems to cooperate," said Tony Lagrange.

"It's a nice way of showing your faith a little more openly. Maybe it's a sign to the city that there are still people of faith and it's important to them."

At the first prayer station, the participants prayed for the sick, infirm and those in hospital care. They prayed for doctors, nurses and all caregivers.

At the second station, they prayed for the World Youth Day participants, as the young people make preparations to go to Spain.

Young people carry a replica of the World Youth Day cross down Jasper Avenue

WCR PHOTO | CHRIS MILLER

Young people carry a replica of the World Youth Day cross down Jasper Avenue

Sister Dolores Dery was outside of St. Joachim Church, the second station of the procession. She said the Corpus Christi procession is a way to make people more aware of the sacrament of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, the Eucharist.

SHOW THE FAITH

"I just feel great when I'm out in the procession with so many people. It's to show our faith, our belief," said Jean Plouffe, who lives in an apartment near St. Joachim Church.

Of all things she could be doing on a Sunday afternoon, Plouffe was grateful to put those things aside and take part in the procession.

"I was upstairs sewing when I heard the music and came down. I could be reading, or I could be out, but this is more important to me," she said.

Jacob Ang is part of a group of young people from Couples for Christ and Singles for Christ. While not part of the procession, the young people played a hymn, Behold the Body of Christ, outside of St. Joachim Church.

The significance of the event for Ang was, "just singing out for the archdiocese and for God.

"We are involved in some way every year," he continued. "We love to serve, all of us in our community. It's a way of showing our gratitude, our service to the archdiocese of Edmonton and especially our service to God."