Father Thomas S. Willis, rector of Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, informed local Historic City News reporters that the parishioners will hold their annual Corpus Christi Procession this Sunday, June 22nd; renewing an ancient European tradition that dates back to the 13th century.
The day begins with a Solemn Mass at 11:00 a.m. The Most Rev. Felipe Estevez, Bishop of St. Augustine, will be the principal celebrant and homilist for the Mass and will lead the procession.
“In many ways it is the celebration of our faith which should always be revealed in public – marketplaces, neighborhoods, wherever a Catholic happens to be,” Father Tom told Historic City News. “This one day is a yearly reminder of what our mission is – to carry the holy and glorious presence of Christ out into the world in all we say and do.”
Corpus Christi is Latin for “The Body of Christ.” The Corpus Christi Procession takes the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist into the streets of the local city. During the procession of clergy and the faithful, hymns are sung along with the recitation of certain prayers. These are a public display of the Catholic faith’s belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
The procession will follow a route from the Cathedral, south on St. George Street to the courtyard of the Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Following a brief service there, the procession will move north on Aviles Street to the gazebo of the Plaza de la Constitución where another brief liturgy will be held in which prayers will be offered for God’s blessings upon all the people of St. Augustine. The procession will then conclude in the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Augustine where a final Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament will be given by Bishop Estevez.
All are invited to join in the full procession or to make their way to one of the stops that will be made along the way.