A procession bringing Jesus in the Eucharist through the heart of the largest city in the U.S. attracted hundreds of participants on the evening of October 10.
Participants marched reverently as the Body of Christ, housed in a golden monstrance, was carried aloft through the busy streets of Manhattan, passing right in front of the storied Radio City Music Hall as some bystanders looked on with interest and others dropped to their knees.
The public procession, sponsored by the Catholic leadership organization Napa Institute, was part of the group’s 2023 Principled Entrepreneurship Conference, held October 10-11 at The Metropolitan Club in New York.
Father Mike Schmitz, a priest of the Diocese of Duluth, MN, and a popular Catholic speaker and podcaster, celebrated Mass before the start of the procession at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the seat of the Archdiocese of New York. He was joined by dozens of priests from around the country as well as Bishop Edmund Whalen, auxiliary bishop of New York.
The priest admitted that he “felt like Jonah” when he was asked to celebrate the Mass before the procession. Father Schmitz said he sometimes is wary of the idea of processing the Eucharist outside in public spaces, where many onlookers may react with misunderstanding, indifference, or even hatred.
“I don’t want to ‘ambush’ them with the Lord,” Father Schmitz admitted. “Most people will not have any idea what we’re doing.”
But, upon further reflection, he said, “I think it’s what we need to do.” He said he is reminded of Jesus carrying his cross during his passion—at the time, Jesus was “unnoticed, misunderstood, or hated” by almost everyone who saw him.
Father Schmitz said the Eucharistic procession is an opportunity to glorify Jesus in a “hidden” form that most observers will not understand. And, perhaps, “someone will look up, glance over, and see the friends of Jesus and ask, ‘Who is that?’”
“Let this procession be your choice to say ‘God, I want you to recognize me in your glory. So I’m going to cling to you when you’re hidden…. I want to be known as your friend when you come in triumph. So let me be your friend now,’” Father Schmitz said.
The solemn procession, with Bishop Whalen carrying the monstrance, began immediately after Mass.
By Jonah McKeown
Image Source: AB/Zach Fiedler, Napa Institute