Saturday, October 02, 2010

"Let the people come in procession..."


The last rites against evil...
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For many years I did not 'get' processions - I just thought they were like parades or religious spectacles.  I never 'liked' them - perhaps I was afraid to be thought of as too pious if I participated in them.  Nevertheless, processions have been coming back into liturgical 'fashion' after many years of disuse.  I know in Southern Europe and Latino countries processions are more common and popular, and of course at Lourdes, Our Lady asked for processions to come.
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I pondered thoughts like these after reading and posting about the Eucharistic procession Bishop Aquila led to the abortion mill in Fargo last Sunday.  I'm so impressed by the Bishop's faith in the Blessed Sacrament, his witness to life, and his courageous pastoral leadership.  I couldn't help but recall the many times throughout history processions have been made in supplication to God praying for the defeat of enemy invaders, the end of wars, plague, and even to stop storms and volcanoes. As you know, in Old Testament times the Ark of the Covenant was processed into battle - how much more appropriate in our day to process with the Real Presence; the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, carried in procession to the places of evil and death.  What a beautiful and efficacious witness for believers and unbelievers alike.
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Art - Illumination:   In the year 590, the city of Rome was in danger of becoming a desert, on account of the vast numbers who fell victims to the terrible plague then raging. Pope St. Gregory the Great, who also had been stricken with the dread disease, seeing that all human precautions had been in vain, had recourse to the most powerful of all protectors, Our Blessed Lady, the Virgin Most Powerful and Most Merciful. He gave orders that a picture of the Mother of God, believed to have been painted by St. Luke, should be carried in a general procession of all the clergy and laity as far as the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. The violence with which the plague was raging may be judged that even during the procession eighty persons perished from it, but before it came to an end an Angel in human form was seen above Adrian’s tower (since called the Castle of St. Angelo) sheathing a sword tinged with blood, and from that moment the pestilence ceased. At the same time angelic voices were heard in the air singing, “Regina Coeli, laetare, allelluia, quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia, resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia.” The Holy Pontiff immediately added: “Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.” - Source

6 comments:

  1. I have had a recurring dreams since childhood, about processions. I am usually with family members, dead and alive. We generally end up at my childhood Church, but in one of the dreams we walked up to the altar, and then almost a highway appeared and we walked up this hill to the sky. Er, well, that's it really.

    I have been to a few real processions as well.

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  2. I love dreams like that - 'stairway to heaven'.

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  3. Maybe not a REAL procession--but I love it when the children of the church accompany our Deacon as he prays the Stations of the Cross Fridays during Lent. Once in awhile an adult will join. He almost looks like the Pied Piper...

    Sara

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  4. Keep an eye on him then... kidding!

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  5. We do the Rogation Day processions; this brings many, many graces...
    I believe one procession in the Spring actually averted a tornado from leveling our Oratory...it was a pretty nasty scene just a few miles away the day after our procession.
    Great post! Bring on more processions!

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  6. We had procession around the church before Mass today for Michaelmas. (We transferred the feast.) The grace and beauty of seeing the line snake around the church, stopping at some point for a station (though today we had 2 stations). It's very moving--movement is moving. Representing not only our life's journey, but the unbridled joy of the freedom of the people of God on their way to Heaven. Plus, we get to sing more of the great hymns! ;-)

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