Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 18, 2007
Ark of New Covenant featured on Corpus Christi
Procession down Jasper Ave. witness to our love, says Smith
By RAMON GONZALEZ
- WCR photo by Ramon Gonzalez
Young people carry the Ark of the New Covenant bearing the Blessed Sacrament down Jasper Avenue in the annual Corpus Christi procession.
"By the word of Christ spoken by the priest and the working of the Holy Spirit the gifts of bread and wine are changed, transformed into the very body and blood of Jesus," he explained.
Jesus is present here and now in the sacrifice of the Mass "precisely so that we can be one with him in his self gift to the Father," Smith said. "When we receive Communion we are at that moment offering our lives to the Father for the sake of the world in union with Jesus Christ."
The Eucharist, in virtue of the fact it is the self-offering of Jesus Christ, impels us inescapably to a life of service to others, the archbishop stressed.
By processing through the streets "we give witness to our faith of the love of the Father revealed in Jesus Christ, his Son," he said.
Smith called on the congregation to pray that the Ark of the New Covenant becomes a source of renewed love for the "magnificent gift of the Eucharist" in the Edmonton Archdiocese.
The procession was led from the basilica by a group of youth carrying a replica of the World Youth Day cross. A group of colourfully dressed Polish Catholics, carrying a statue of Joseph and the baby Jesus, followed.
Many people holding church banners and a large canvas of Jesus the Divine Mercy took part in the march. Young people dressed in white robes carried the ark while the archbishop and a number of priests followed right behind.
Two young Polish girls dressed in traditional attire walked in front of the ark carrying flowers and throwing flower petals on the procession route. Participants sang hymns of praise such as Alleluia, Give Thanks to the Risen Lord and Bread of Life throughout the walk.
- WCR photo by Ramon Gonzalez
Monika, 19, and Angelika, 13, Kowalczuk carry flowers in the Corpus Christi procession.
The procession stopped at the General Hospital, St. Joachim's Church, Ezio Faraone Park and Grandin Park. Smith led prayers at each stop.
Couples for Christ, a renewal ministry for families, sponsored the stop and family gathering at Grandin Park, where the ark stayed long after the procession ended.
April Mireau, who helped carry the ark through the procession, said she felt "joyful and honoured" to be part of such an important task. "It was like carrying Jesus," she said.
Mireau was one of hundreds who dropped a personal pledge into the ark. "I committed to prayer times in the morning and at night."
Andrew Suwala of Our Lady Queen of Poland Parish said he processed behind the ark "to share our common faith in Jesus and (to enjoy) the fellowship with our brothers and sisters in faith."
A painter for 15 years, Suwala painted many of the large banners of Jesus used during the procession and was proud of it. "More and more I recognize this as a mission. I paint (these pictures) and then I give them to churches."
Mel Risling came from Lloydminster to visit his son and daughter-in-law and his four grandchildren and they all ended up in the procession. The Corpus Christi procession "is part of our tradition," he said. "Sometimes you've got to live out your faith, eh? You've to walk the walk."
Mary Anne Galczynski and her husband Gregory attended Mass and then took part in the procession because "It's a way to show our love for Christ and to be together with friends and family." Mary Anne said, "We (use the opportunity to) pray to God for good health, protection from evil and prosperity."
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