Carrying Jesus beyond the confines of the church building

Fr Trenton van Reesch leads the procession carrying the Blessed Sacrament

Canberra turned on the winter sunshine as hundreds witnessed to their faith by accompanying the Blessed Sacrament around the Cathedral Precinct in Manuka at Sunday’s feast of Corpus Christi.

Young and old alike joined in the procession, with many saying that it was an opportunity to publicly witness to their faith while at the same time upbuilding their own.

The Corpus Christi public procession is a centuries-old tradition within the Catholic church; however, it has been over 50 years since the Archdiocese held such an event.

St Christopher’s Cathedral Administrator, Fr Trenton van Reesch, is adamant that the procession still has a place in modern Australian society.

“The Procession is about not hiding the greatest truth of our faith – God who is truly present with us! Carrying Jesus beyond the confines of the church building expresses this truth and shares the kerygma of Christianity, one of hope and intimacy offered to all people,” he said.

Grace Braybon with Chiara Catanzariti

One of many young people attending the Mass and procession was 21-year-old Grace Braybon.

“I think practising the Catholic faith is often done in solitary, or it’s hidden, so being in a Eucharistic procession is a wonderful way to express our faith,” Ms Braybon said.

 “Walking behind the Blessed Sacrament is a testament to my belief that this is the real presence of Christ. This procession is an excellent opportunity to say yes, “I believe”. It is a public declaration of my faith – that’s what I think we are called to do – to walk in Jesus’s footsteps.”

Melywn Monterio, who was part of the group holding the canopy, said he felt the procession was a great opportunity for people to reconnect with their faith.

“I think being involved with a Eucharistic procession allows people to reconnect with their faith in a way they possibly haven’t done previously. People can see that the Catholic faith is alive and well and perhaps this will help people to have the courage to reconnect.

Fr van Reesch hopes that the Corpus Christi procession will be an annual event in the life of the Archdiocese.

“The Eucharist is the jewel in the Crown of Christianity! Many Catholics believe what they profess, that God is not merely symbolically present in the Eucharist, and they want to share this wondrous truth with others,” he said.