Faithful gather for unique Eucharistic procession on Feast of Corpus Christi


On June 6, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), faithful from Sanilac County took Jesus out into the streets— literally— with a unique Eucharistic procession.

Standing in the back of a bright yellow open Jeep, Father Stephen Blaxton, parochial administrator of Holy Family Parish, held the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance and led a procession of faithful who followed in more than 70 cars. The procession visited each of the parish's three church locations in Marlette, Peck and Sandusky.

“I hope to renew Eucharistic fervor in current parishioners and set for them a missionary tone. The procession is meant to be an icon of the New Evangelization's missionary, outward-facing direction of taking Jesus to those beyond the doors of the church,” said Father Stephen. The procession is meant to be a symbolic (and hopefully more than merely symbolic) gesture of taking the Eucharist out to those in the community reminding them of its importance. The procession also aims at reconnecting with parishioners who have stopped attending by giving the church more visibility in the community. “

Eucharistic processions, in which the Blessed Sacrament is publicly venerated, are a powerful witness to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. A common tradition during the feast of Corpus Christi, Eucharistic processions generally involve walking, led by the Eucharist, from one place to another. This recalls Christians' lives as pilgrims on a journey.

“To do it in cars is just adapting it to the circumstances of the Thumb,” Father Stephen explained. “The idea is this is something that could bring the parish together.”

He added the procession gave some parishioners the opportunity to visit one of the churches they hadn’t visited before.

At each church, Father Stephen proclaimed a Gospel reading and led a prayer. While driving, participants prayed the Rosary and the Litany of the Most Blessed Sacrament. The faithful were specifically asked to pray for a return of all Catholics to the Eucharistic feast and that God would place someone in the lives of each of them to invite to Mass. At St. Joseph Church, the final stop, benediction preceded the repose of the Blessed Sacrament.

“It was very moving,” said Greg Alexander of Carsonville, who serves as district deputy for Knights of Columbus Council 711 and is a parishioner at Holy Family. “It was awesome. We had a phenomenal turnout, even more so than we expected. It was another good idea by Father Stephen.”

Alexander, along with his wife Patty, drove the vehicle which held the Blessed Sacrament.

“It was a blessed day,” said Patty Alexander.

She added that as they drove through the streets, every car pulled over when they saw the police escort— then did a double-take when they saw Father Stephen in the Jeep with the monstrance and Blessed Sacrament. A large sign on the back of the Jeep read “Holy Family Catholic Parish.”

The Corpus Christi procession was also a joyful reminder that the faithful can once again gather to receive the Eucharist at Mass and come together as a parish family.

“I think people have a hunger for the Eucharist, and when they’re away from it, that desire starts to build in them. The people that showed up, that’s a testament to the desire that they have for the Eucharist when they’re away,” Father Stephen said. “I hope the people who came can take this as an opportunity to deepen their awareness as a disciple who is called to evangelize, who is called to take Jesus beyond the doors of the church and be that joyful missionary disciple.”