St. John the Apostle Eucharistic procession highlights Eucharist’s centrality to faith

North Texas Catholic
(Jun 13, 2023) Local

The front of the procession makes its way towards its first stop. (NTC/Carolina Boelter)

More photos here

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS — Despite 100-degree temperatures, several hundred parishioners and guests participated in St. John the Apostle Parish's June 11 Eucharistic procession.

The procession progressed from inside the church to traveling around the church with two station stops for readings and singing in between.

Both the ongoing year of Eucharistic Revival and next year's planned Eucharistic Congress, the first in 83 years, inspired the procession, St. John parishioner Paul Epperley said.

2019 Pew survey results showing that 69 percent of self-identified Catholics believe the Eucharist to be symbolic rather than the actual body and blood of Christ in turn inspired the Eucharistic revival and Congress.

Eucharistic processions, while common in Epperley's former hometowns of Pittsburgh and St. Louis, are less so in Texas.

Father McKone holding monstrance
Fr. Jack McKone presents the monstrance to the crowd. (NTC/Carolina Ruth Boelter)

“I thought we could start here and introduce people to what it is,” Epperley said. “The procession is to take ourselves outside the church and say, 'This is the Body of Christ' and let others see us proclaim it.”

Father Jack McKone, pastor of St. John the Apostle Parish in North Richland Hills, during the Mass preceding the procession, stressed the Eucharist's centrality to Catholic faith.

“Jesus said — let me be crystal clear — 'Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood you do not have life,'” Fr. McKone said. “The Eucharist establishes, in the strongest possible way, a real union between believer and Christ.”

The Eucharistic procession, Father Sam Maul said, provided opportunity for the faithful to follow Christ out into the world and for the world outside to experience and be challenged by Christ's mystery and invitation to draw closer to Him.

St. John parishioners Rodrigo Sanchez and Emmanuel Ortiz said the event marked their first Eucharistic procession.

“It was exciting,” Sanchez said. “To see people walking with each other, which you haven't really seen that much since 2020 with COVID. I think it helped get the community in tune with each other again, the parish and the outside community. Definitely you could feel Christ's presence throughout the whole setting.”

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