~from National Catholic Register about Eucharistic processions in secular colleges
The November night air was crisp as the fraternities at the University of Nebraska prepared to outdo each other with their homecoming lawn displays.More
Stereos blasted. Hammers pounded. Electric saws screeched.
Then the faint sound of singing began to filter down “Greek row” as a candle-carrying army approached.
One by one, radios were turned down, power tools switched off and fraternity brothers stood in silence as 200 college students walked past. They were led by priests, seminarians, religious sisters and Knights of Columbus. A four-posted canopy covered the Blessed Sacrament.
The hour-long Eucharistic procession in Lincoln, Neb., began at St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center several blocks away and included stops at three altars set up on campus — the Student Union, Memorial Stadium and a field at the edge of Greek row.
That was All Saints’ Day 2006, and the students plan to repeat the event this year.
If it sounds like an unusual event — a Eucharistic procession on the campus of a public university — you’re right. It’s rare. But not unique.
Just over a month after that procession, nearly 100 students at North Dakota State University marched in a similar fashion led by Fargo Bishop Samuel Aquila — continuing a five-year tradition in celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe as patroness of the unborn.
Starting at St. Paul’s Newman Center, their procession proceeded along a candle-lined path and included prayers for faculty and students at the administration building, the library and a women’s dorm before returning to St. Paul’s for a pro-life speaker and Mexican fiesta.
The inspiration for such public displays of faith on campus came from different sources. North Dakota State University graduate Lisa Gray read John Paul II’s encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharista (The Eucharist in Its Relationship to the Church) where he emphasizes the importance of processions in parish life. She said that “knowing that the direction of education is at the forefront of shaping the philosophy and ideology today” made the collegiate procession a great fit.
In Nebraska, Newman Center staff members were impressed by “God in the Streets” — a video of a procession through New York City streets by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.