Church doors in the Hudson Valley reopened in time for parishioners of Annunciation-Our Lady of Fatima to celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ with a Eucharistic Procession following Sunday Mass at Annunciation Church in Crestwood June 14.
Archdiocesan churches in the Hudson Valley reopened for daily Masses last week and celebrated their first Sunday Masses at a restricted 25 percent church capacity June 13-14 following the coronavirus pandemic that closed churches for the celebration of Mass in mid-March.
“It was wonderful and a blessing to see people back in the church,” Father Robert Grippo, parish pastor, told CNY.
Corpus Christi is Latin for Body of Christ. The Feast of Corpus Christi, which celebrated its feast this year on June 11, takes place the Thursday after Trinity Sunday or 60 days after Easter, falling in late May or early June. The day celebrates the conversion of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus at Mass.
“People were thrilled and grateful to see we were open for worship and were able to receive the Eucharist at this appropriate time of Corpus Christi,” said Father Grippo.
The pastor said up to 150 people participated in the parish’s Eucharistic Procession for Corpus Christi, which had stops for prayers in a field behind the church, the schoolyard at Annunciation School and back inside the church.
“We prayed for those who died of coronavirus, and we prayed for parishioners and the people of the community,” Father Grippo said of the prayers behind the church.
“We stopped at the school because children have been stressed by what’s happening with the coronavirus. We thanked the Lord for watching over them and blessing them. We prayed God will strengthen and comfort them as they go forward.”
Father Grippo, who said the parish will continue to livestream daily and Sunday Masses, added everything went “very smoothly” the first week at daily and Sunday Masses, which had good turnouts.
Parishioners wore face masks and allowed for social distancing by standing on marked spots waiting in line for the Eucharist and sitting on marked locations in pews.
Hand sanitizer was available as parishioners entered and exited church as well as in the front of the church for receiving the Eucharist. The parish men’s club and Knights of Columbus sanitized the pews between weekend Masses and parish staff sanitized pews during the week.
“People were very cooperative and it worked out very well,” he said.
As for the Eucharistic Procession to celebrate Corpus Christi, Father Grippo said, “We wanted to continue it here this year and will continue to do it every year here.”