What do you say we wrap up Chapter VI on reservation of the Eucharist and Eucharistic worship outside of Mass? Today’s four sections cover “Eucharistic Congresses and Eucharistic Processions.”
[142.] “It is for the diocesan Bishop to establish regulations about processions in order to provide for participation in them and for their being carried out in a dignified way” [Code of Canon Law 944 § 2; cf. HCWEOM, Introduction, 102; GIRM 317] and to promote adoration by the faithful.
[143.] “Wherever it is possible in the judgement of the diocesan Bishop, a procession through the public streets should be held, especially on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ as a public witness of reverence for the Most Holy Sacrament”, [Code of Canon Law 944 § 1; cf. HCWEOM, Introduction, 101-102; GIRM 317] for the “devout participation of the faithful in the eucharistic procession on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ is a grace from the Lord which yearly fills with joy those who take part in it”.[Ecclesia de Eucharistia 10]
Growing up in the East, I’d have to say that fervor for these faded by the end of the 60’s. In fact, I never heard about them until I was in graduate school in the 80’s. I was familiar with pilgrimage experiences, of course.
For us Americans, I’d have to say we have an opportunity to reflect on the public expression of our Catholic identity in worship. It’s one thing to have a church on a street, among other churches. And having the largest church isn’t so much of a problem as a point of pride.
[144.] Although this cannot be done in some places, the tradition of holding eucharistic processions should not be allowed to be lost. Instead, new ways should be sought of holding them in today’s conditions: for example, at shrines, or in public gardens if the civil authority agrees.
This is an idea to consider. Perhaps also incorporating ways in which friendly believers might respond to questions and conversations about Catholic beliefs.
[145.] The pastoral value of Eucharistic Congresses should be highly esteemed, and they “should be a genuine sign of faith and charity”. [Cf. HCWEOM 109] Let them be diligently prepared and carried out in accordance with what has been laid down, [Cf. HCWEOM 109-112] so that Christ’s faithful may have the occasion to worship the sacred mysteries of the Body and Blood of the Son of God in a worthy manner, and that they may continually experience within themselves the fruits of the Redemption. [Cf. Roman Missal, collect for the Body and Blood of Christ]
Do congresses ever take place on a scale somewhat less than that of a diocese?