Friday, May 18, 2007

Eucharistic procession in Saginaw

~from Michigan Live: Celebrating the Bread of Life

It's not every day that you see a group of Catholic parishioners take to the city streets, singing, praying and reading Scripture.

But that's exactly what will happen June 10 as members of the Diocese of Saginaw recognize the heart of Catholic life: the presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Robert J. Carlson, bishop for the 11-county Saginaw Diocese, will celebrate Mass at 10:30 a.m. at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, 1503 Kosciuszko Ave., and immediately following a group of worshipers will take part in a 10-block procession from St. Stans to St. James Church, 710 Columbus Ave.

Following 11 a.m. Mass at St. James, parishioners will walk from their church to meet the group coming from St. Stans. They are expected to meet up about half-way through the route, which will be Grant Street to 18th Street and 18th to Monroe.

The procession is meant to be a public proclamation that Christ is with them, church leaders say.

''It's not a parade,'' cautioned the Rev. Bill Rutkowski, priest at St. Stanislaus. ''It's really a diocesan celebration of the Eucharist.''

''It's a religious event,'' added Stanley Kuczynski, liturgist and music director at St. Stanislaus.

The June 10th procession will be the conclusion of the Diocese's three-day Eucharistic Congress, which includes an ordination to the priesthood on Friday in Saginaw and an ordination of deacons and a family barbecue, concert and youth rally on Saturday in Midland.

''This is kind of the crowning point to the Eucharistic Congress,'' Rutkowski said.

During the procession, five seminarians will carry a decorated vessel called a monstrance. The vessel - which resembles a golden sun with a clear orb in the middle - carries the host, which Catholics believe is the body of Christ.

Rutkowski said the bishop likely will wear a cope in honor of the occasion.

''(A cope) is an ornate cape,'' he said.

The vessel and special clothing is meant to highlight the significance of the Eucharistic celebration, Rutkowski explained.

''It's because you're holding this profound truth in your hand. ... This is the real presence of Christ. You have Christ with you,'' he said.

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