WASHINGTON, D.C., June 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A large procession of priests, sisters, and laypeople made its way through the streets of the nation’s capital on Sunday, the Feast of Corpus Christi, solemnly carrying the Eucharist past the Capitol Building and the United States Supreme Court.
During the procession, participants asked the Lord “to take authority over Washington, D.C., focusing on reparation for the sin and scandals that have come to light within the Church, and for healing and deliverance for all those who live or work in our nation’s capital,” according to organizers of the event.
The procession was led by a famous fixture in Washington: Monsignor Charles Pope, who has spent many years leading Bible studies, teaching, and preaching inside the Capitol and at the White House. Msgr. Pope has served as pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian Church on Capitol Hill for the last 12 years.
“[Capitol Hill] is a location that inspires both awe and anger. It is the epicenter of power in our country, power for both great good and great evil,” wrote Msgr. Pope on his Archdiocese of Washington blog. “Yet here we are as well, the Church.”
“We will process up a street where many protesters have walked before, past the homes of believers as well as non-believers, past rainbow flags as well as Madonnas in front yards, past the homes of members of Congress and ‘ordinary’ folks as well,” the popular priest wrote in advance of the event.
“There will be believers who will rejoice as we walk past and non-believers who will wonder what we are doing and perhaps scoff at us,” he continued. “But the Lord loves them all and wants to save their souls. We will walk in love and witness.”
“Though we will sing and pray, our testimony will be more visual than verbal. We will honor the One who makes everything possible,” explained Msgr. Pope. “Jesus will be carried by priests of the Church with great solemnity, under a canopy of honor, surrounded by six torchbearers, and accompanied by the sounds of praise and adoration and the smell of incense.”
Msgr. Pope said the slow, solemn pace of a Corpus Christi procession is far different from the “motorcades with revving motorcycle engines and blaring sirens that seem to say, ‘Get out of our way,’” to which Washigtonians are accustomed. And the message conveyed is far different too:
“He who loves you and died for you is passing by. He is calling you now to the repentance that gives joy. His power is not worldly and passing but heavenly and eternal. Yes, let us praise and adore Him, who alone can save us. In a city of potentates here is the true King, without whom nothing is possible!”
“We will not march in a triumphalist manner but in reparation for the sins and shortcomings of the members of the Church, both clergy and lay,” declared Msgr. Pope.
“We will commit ourselves anew to the Lord, acknowledging our past sins and seeking grace to overcome our shortcomings and resist temptations,” he continued. “We will cry for God’s mercy on us and on our nation.”
“Without grace and mercy, we do not stand a chance, but with the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption,” he added.
“It [was] an unbelievable experience,” Tony Castellano, who arrived late for the event from his suburban Maryland home, told LifeSiteNews. “I saw dozens of habit-clothed sisters, nuns, priests, deacons, and the laity kneeling. We prayed, sang hymns, and were blessed with benediction. To see such a sight in THIS city was so moving that I broke down.”
“Walking slowly down the middle of East Capitol Street, the U.S. Capitol building came in view,” said Castellano. “There it stood, directly before the procession of the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings. And then rounding the corner we passed directly next to the US Supreme Court.”
“We approached prayerfully, solemnly, and gently towards these seats of earthly power,” he continued. “I stood behind the monstrance covered with a canopy surrounded by candle bearers following a trail of incense seeing this sight. It was immense. We prayed the rosary, prayed for our nation, and prayed for the world.”