MONTREAL, Quebec, May 28, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The presence of Jesus Christ radiated into the nightlife of downtown Montreal last week as four Catholic bishops accompanied by 450 young people courageously processed with the Eucharistic Lord. Tourists, onlookers, and strip club patrons on the famous Saint Catherine Street experienced the jubilant faith of a new generation of Catholic young people who were not afraid to openly profess their faith in a city that was once the marvel of the Catholic world, but has now largely become a spiritual wasteland of secularism and hedonism.
“When we turned onto St. Catherine’s Street, Bishop Lepine, the Archbishop of Montreal, held the monstrance high and quite bravely lead us down the middle of St. Catherine’s with 450 young people joyfully clapping, singing and bearing witness to Christ in the midst of the glamour, glitter and sensuality of St. Catherine’s night life as it unfolded,” wrote Kyle Ferguson, National Coordinator for the Canadian Catholic Campus Ministry Association, on a blog.
The Eucharistic procession from St. Joseph’s Oratory to the Cathedral of Mary Queen of the World on May 20 was the culminating event of the third biennial Canadian Youth Summit where young people ages 18-35 gathered to celebrate out-loud their Catholic faith. The 5 kilometer procession was led by Bishops Lepine (recently appointed to Montreal), Dowd (Montreal), Lacroix (Quebec) and Prendergast (Ottawa). The four bishops reportedly walked shoulder to shoulder, sharing the arduous task of carrying the monstrance.
“As one got fatigued the other bishop stepped up and took on the weight for his brother bishop,” wrote Ferguson. “It was an incredible witness of episcopal friendship, collaboration and solidarity.”
During the procession, the youth held candles and prayed that the “fruits of the Holy Spirit [would] fill the hearts of the youth of Canada and of the world.”
Georges Buscemi, president of Campaigne Québec-Vie, told LifeSiteNews that the Eucharistic procession was a “strong signal that the bishops are stating that Christians have a right and a duty to profess their faith and to act according to it on the public square. No more cowering inside our churches.”
“It’s also a strong sign that the Eucharist must be at the heart of everything that Christians do on the public square, and this for me would include pro-life work. If Christ is not at the centre of our pro-life work, then we’re just making a lot of noise, and probably doing more harm than good.”
Ferguson reported how it was as if the procession was “reclaiming the city and its people to Jesus.”
“Those who passed by were visibly touched by this public witness to Christ, many stopping to applaud us, take pictures, join in the procession, or with arms tightly crossed to their chest, watch curiously.”
“People, young and old, were being drawn to their apartments and shop windows to witness not a protest of aggression unfolding, but a procession of love outpouring. Moreover, spectators were being drawn out of themselves, out of the mundane and into the mystery and joy of the Christian faith.”
Fr. Serge Giroux, assistant director of communications in the Archdiocese of Montreal told LifeSiteNews that the procession was a “very significant witnessing of the faith” and that it shows the people of a secularized Quebec that “youngsters, despite what the majority of people think, are still in search of spiritual meaning and making sense of their lives.”
“It’s a good witnessing and it shows that youngsters are not afraid of their commitments, when they make one. They are willing to go out on the streets and show that they believe in God.”
“Those [in Quebec] who have set aside their reflections on God were certainly questioned by what they saw,” he said.