Corpus Christi processions outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral and 30 parishes across the archdiocese, together with similar celebrations around the country, launched the three-year National Eucharistic Revival June 19.
Cardinal Dolan presided at the procession around the outside of the cathedral that concluded with Benediction at the cathedral’s bronze doors after celebrating the 10:15 a.m Mass indoors on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
The bishops of the United States are calling for the three-year grassroots revival of devotion and belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. The Diocesan Year of Eucharistic Revival runs to June 11, 2023.
Cardinal Dolan, in his homily at the cathedral Mass, marveled at the “mighty miracle” of “Jesus multiplying the five loaves and the two fish and feeding 5,000,” proclaimed in the Gospel (Lk 9:11b-17).
“And today, on this magnificent feast of Corpus Christi, the Body and Blood of Christ, we celebrate the fact that that mighty miracle continues through the Holy Eucharist.”
What Jesus did “for those 5,000 on the hill in Galilee,” the cardinal said, “He does for us now, as He continues to miraculously feed us with His very body and blood in Holy Communion, here at the Holy Eucharist, and remains with us in the Most Blessed Sacrament.”
On that day, the cardinal estimated, “probably throughout the world, He’s going to feed a half billion people who are gathered for Sunday Mass throughout the Church universal, with His body and blood in Holy Communion.”
“It gives us a chance to reaffirm and to celebrate that magnificent gift of Jesus, really and truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.”
The cardinal also highlighted the Second Reading (1 Cor 11:23-26) and St. Paul recounting the gift, the institution of the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, that first Holy Thursday.
The cardinal then called forth “our obedience” to Jesus’ command, “‘Do this in memory of me.’”
“That’s why you and I are here,” the cardinal said. “That’s why for 2,000 years a hallmark of being a follower of Jesus in His Church would be an obedience to that command, that we would take part every Sunday in the miracle of the Holy Eucharist.”
As Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament began, Father Enrique Salvo, cathedral rector, explained that Benediction would be offered at the conclusion of the procession on the front steps of the cathedral. “We are going to pray that the Eucharistic Christ blesses New York.”
After the procession, CNY spoke with Aurora Vega-Buzon, 61, and her husband, Carlos Buzon, 70, of Sacred Heart parish in Coronado, Calif. “It was so beautiful and I am so blessed because I’ve just started a devotion to the Blessed Sacrament,” Mrs. Vega-Buzon said.
She said she hopes more Catholics develop devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. “That is Jesus in our midst. It is such a blessing that we are allowed to be in His presence each time we do Adoration and each time that we take Communion.”
“More than any statues or symbols, the Blessed Sacrament is at the core of being a Catholic,” she added.
CNY also spoke with Elizabeth Guevara de Gonzalez, director of the Adult Faith Formation office in the archdiocese, outside the cathedral. She is the diocesan contact for the Eucharistic Revival, which includes the Eucharistic procession. Auxiliary Bishop Gerardo Colacicco is serving as the episcopal adviser.
“I think the Lord is so excited about what’s going to happen within our diocese,” Ms. de Gonzalez said. “The cathedral is full. As always, being in the middle of Midtown we have a lot of onlookers. It’s great, being a testimony to people.”
Parishes across the archdiocese “have held a procession today or will be holding a procession today,” she said. “Knowing that our people are longing and our people are here and they’re participating, despite the difficulties of the time” is significant, she said. “Our Lord is giving them the strength to participate and to be part of this.”
As Ms. de Gonzalez participated in the cathedral procession, she thought about the scope of the feast for the Church and how “the Lord is happy—He’s happy that we do this, He’s happy that we honor Him.”
She eagerly anticipated “collaborating with our various pastoral offices” during the first year of the Eucharistic Revival “to have events specifically about the Eucharist that will bring people closer to a deeper understanding but also just to a deeper love.”
St. Clare parish on Staten Island celebrated a neighborhood-wide Corpus Christi procession after the 10 a.m. Mass June 19. An outdoor social was provided for all participants afterward.
Father Arthur Mastrolia, pastor of St. Clare, spoke with CNY on the phone last week about its success. “We were very happy with the sense of excitement and electricity among the gathered parishioners for this event,” he said. “It was something they wanted to participate in and we took this as a sign of our people yearning to hold onto their Catholic identity.”
In inaugurating the three-year National Eucharistic Revival, he said, “this was a great opportunity for people to recommit themselves to their love of the Eucharist and their desire to pass that love on to their children.”
“The sense of community that the event engendered is something we’ve been searching for, for a long time in parish life,” Father Mastrolia concluded. “And to know that it resulted from an experience of the Eucharist is tremendously satisfying.”