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Parishes continue tradition of Corpus Christi processions

By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
(Email Katie)

Parishes in the Diocese of Sioux City will join Catholics around the world in Corpus Christi processions on June 22.

Fifth year

The tradition of holding a Corpus Christi procession at St. Cecelia Parish in Algona began five years ago on the 25th Anniversary of Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at St. Cecelia’s, explained Father Ed Girres, pastor at St. Cecelia’s.

The Corpus Christi procession in Algona will be held on June 22 beginning with Liturgy of the Word in the church and the opening of benediction at 4 p.m. After a short homily, the procession will begin. 

The priest and parishioners process around the church grounds, which is a two block area and finish in the Memorial Garden. During the procession the Litany of the Holy Eucharist is recited. 

A drumming group welcomes the procession to the Memorial Garden for the close of benediction.  Then the Blessed Sacrament is reposed in church.

Through announcements and the parish bulletin, everyone is encouraged to attend. There are usually about 150 to 200 who attend.

“Any procession that we do, such as coming up to receive Communion, signifies our baptismal journey through life,” said Father Girres. “In the Corpus Christi procession, the Blessed Sacrament, the real presence of Jesus, reminds us that Christ leads us on our journey through life and is always with us.”

He said the holy Eucharist is the “great gift of the Catholic Church.” 

“The Eucharist has multiple levels of meaning for us - food for the journey, real presence, life of God within us, sharing in the baptismal life of dying and rising, dying to sin and rising to new life, the call to be Christ for others,” said Father Girres. “Christ gave his life for the world (bread broken, blood poured out) and by receiving his body and blood, we are to pour out our lives for others.  And there’s more, of course.  The Mass, the Eucharist, is the heart of our faith.  This is a great feast day.”

From the start, they have included a parish picnic that follows the procession. 

“A generous group organizes it,” said the pastor. “No one is asked to bring anything. It’s a very relaxing, community-building event.”

The Body of Christ

St. Mary's in Humboldt will have a Corpus Christi Procession after the 8 a.m. Mass on June 22 with a parish breakfast to follow, honoring Tom and Pat Albrecht.

For the third year, Father James Tigges will carry the Blessed Sacrament followed by Knights of Columbus and parishioners.

“We will process around the parish grounds, which is about a large city block,” said the pastor of St. Mary’s. “There will be two stopping points outside of church – one at the Blessed Mother statue on the north side of school, and the other in the parking lot south of the school.”

Singing and prayers will be held at each stop. They will proceed into the church for benediction at the conclusion of the procession. The parishioners of St. John's in Gilmore City, Sacred Heart in Livermore and St. Mary's in Humboldt are being encouraged to attend along with anyone in the area.

“I feel having the Corpus Christi procession helps the people to understand the importance of having Christ at the center of our lives, and this gives an important witness to our faith, especially to the young,” said Father Tigges. “Corpus Christi is important as it tells each of us in a visual way that we are the Body of Christ, living, breathing, acting in a way that will bring others closer to Christ. We need the visual, the verbal (prayers), and the action to help us live the faith that has been passed on to us.”

Check parish bulletins for other Corpus Christi processions in the diocese.

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