Eucharistic processions on Corpus Christi around Texas, U.S. promote devotion to Real Presence

June 14, 2023

In Houston, Father Victor Perez, pastor of St. Joseph and St. Stephen parishes, carried a monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament in the shadow of downtown Houston's towering skyscrapers. (Photo courtesy of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Houston)

HOUSTON (OSV News) -- On a elaborate stitched rug, a grouping of orange chrysanthemums proclaimed a special message in Polish: "Boże Ciało," or "Corpus Christi" in English, reflected the day's celebration, one that reflected dozens of prayers and events around the Archdiocese for the feast of Corpus Christi.

Over the centuries, the tradition of processing with the Eucharist through the streets on the feast of Corpus Christi has spread throughout the Catholic Church and become a revered tradition for Catholics all over the world.

"Corpus Christi" ("Body of Christ") is the Latin name of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. In most U.S. dioceses, the feast day was celebrated June 11, and Eucharistic processions to mark the feast took place across the country in cities and towns, large and small.

This year, from Conroe to Katy, the Bay Area, Spring, Missouri City and Houston, these public displays of devotion to the Real Presence in the Eucharist took on greater importance as the U.S. church's three-year National Eucharistic Revival entered its second year, shifting its focus to parish renewal. The revival's organizers expect this year will inspire more parishes to increase the Eucharist's visibility in their communities.

At Our Lady of Częstochowa Catholic Church in Spring Branch, parishioners donned traditional Polish clothing and led a Eucharistic procession with flowers, incense and rose petals around the church building, all while escorted by the Knights of Columbus. The orange flowers with the Corpus Christi message reflected the bright sunlight and fluttered in the wind as faithful prayed before the Blessed Sacrament.

In Conroe, parishioners at Sacred Heart Catholic Church processed through the city's downtown streets, following the Blessed Sacrament in prayer and devotion in a mile-long loop from the church sanctuary and back for Benediction.

In Houston, Father Victor Perez, pastor of St. Joseph and St. Stephen parishes, carried a monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament in the shadow of downtown Houston's towering skyscrapers. 

Organizers say the processions and other National Eucharistic Revival gatherings are testimonies of the Catholic faith, that they are certain that walking with the Eucharist in the procession is to bless the people of God, that the Lord is in the Eucharist, that "this is about shouting out, 'God is with us,'" and that in the middle of all that is happening today in society, Eucharistic processions are "signs of hope."

Down the interstate, following the Corpus Christi Mass at San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio, scores of churchgoers and clergy processed with the Blessed Sacrament through downtown. With prayer and song in both English and Spanish, Catholics stopped at different altars along the way to adore Christ in the Eucharist. After the procession, the faithful went back to the cathedral to listen to songs by the Niños Cantores de Morelia, a children's choir from Morelia, Mexico.

After the benediction, Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller thanked the faithful for their devotion to the Lord. He also thanked God for some breeze at the end of the procession on an evening when, according to weather reports, temperatures surpassed 90 degrees.

The archbishop said attendees recognize God as they adore him. "We know what is to receive his body and blood," he said. "These are symbols, testimonies -- we are giving witness in the middle of our city and the world with these acts of devotion."