MSU holds first campus Eucharistic procession

North Texas Catholic
(May 3, 2024) Local

Eucharistic procession

The Catholic Campus Center at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls held its first Eucharistic procession on April 28, 2024. (courtesy photo)

WICHITA FALLS — On the last Sunday evening in April, motorists and students passing through Midwestern State University’s Louis J. Rodriguez Drive witnessed something that had never happened before on the grounds of this public school: students, community members, and a Catholic priest processing with a monstrance holding the Holy Eucharist.

The sun was shining as about 30 students and community members walked down the sidewalk with battery-operated candles in hand while singing the Divine Mercy Chaplet. The sky was blue without a cloud in it, without a breath of wind, which is unusual for Wichita Falls in the spring. A chorus of birds was chirping loudly, and doves were cooing. No one would have guessed that the night before, storm clouds covered the sky and hard rain with some hail pounded the area. Come morning, the only sign of the tumult lay hidden in the mud under the grass in front of the Catholic Campus Center.

In the procession, Blake Winn, music and liturgy coordinator for Sacred Heart Parish in Wichita Falls, played guitar; Anna Butler, a Sacred Heart cantor, sang; and Leo Tulagan, a piano player, pulled a black wagon bearing wireless speakers and microphones.

“It’s such a different form of outreach,” said Joe Field, a graduate student in psychology at Midwestern State University. Most student organizations usually set up tables and hand out little free things, he observed.

“But in this case, in a very real way, we’re bringing Jesus through the heart of campus in the monstrance,” the active member of MSU’s CCC said. “It’s something that people who don’t know are going to say, ‘That’s kind of weird,’ but it’s something that will also make them curious.

Father Joseph Moreno at Eucharistic Adoration at Midwestern State University Catholic Campus Center on April 28, 2024. (courtesy photo)

“This isn’t something that you see every day,” he continued. “And if they are asking questions, that will hopefully lead them here. And for those students who are Catholic but haven’t been coming here, hopefully it will act as inspiration to really engage in their faith a little more deeply.”

Father Joseph Moreno, a periodic celebrant of Mass at MSU’s CCC, echoed Field’s sentiment that the procession is a wonderful way to evangelize on campus.

“Eucharistic processions give students the opportunity to take out into campus and share with their classmates He whom they have received in the Holy Mass — the joyful Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ,” the pastor of St. Jude Thaddeus in Burkburnett, Christ the King in Iowa Park, and St. Paul in Electra said. “Processions allow the students to give an unashamedly Catholic witness to the fact that despite this darkened world, the Light of Christ still burns brightly, beckoning all His children to ‘Follow me’ (Mk 1:17).

“Participation in this Eucharistic procession and the Adoration that follows is a reminder to students that in the midst of a very secular university culture, they belong here, they have a purpose here, and they have a home in the arms of Holy Mother Church,” Fr. Moreno said.

Director of Catholic Campus Ministry at MSU Debbie Veitenheimer said that during Holy Thursday Mass this year, she felt God “placed on her heart” the idea to organize a Eucharistic procession at MSU, beginning at the Burns Chapel, where MSU Catholic students celebrate Mass on Sundays, and down the street to the CCC, where they held 24 hours of Eucharistic Adoration in the center chapel. She consulted with Fr. Moreno about the idea and procured permission from the university police and the MSU Student Involvement Office.

“I thought, ‘God’s leading it; we will just obey,’” Veitenheimer shared, noting the significance of holding MSU’s first Eucharistic Procession at a time when the Church is focusing on the Eucharist, just before this summer’s National Eucharistic Congress.

Midwestern State University, Eucharistic procession, Debbie Veitenheimer, Catholic Campus Center,, trending-english