by Bill Miller, Senior Reporter
CARROLL GARDENS — Several hundred people from eight parishes on the west side of Brooklyn poured onto Court Street June 11 to proclaim the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
The gathering, like many others throughout the diocese, was an observance of the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (formerly called Corpus Christi), when Catholics worldwide celebrate the gift of the Eucharist.
According to Church teachings, this gift is the “source and summit of our faith.”
Sunday’s procession stepped off from Carroll Park on Court Street and terminated four blocks later at St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish.
“The procession here in the Carroll Gardens area — and the processions all around the diocese — is a really good indicator of the deep faith that’s shown in our parishes,” Bishop Robert Brennan said. “We really want to continue to nourish that.”
The procession followed a Mass with the congregation spread out across the ball field in Carroll Park. An estimated 800 Communion wafers were received, Diocese of Brooklyn Deputy Press Secretary John Quaglione said.
Father Dave Dwyer, executive director of Busted Halo Ministries, delivered the homily. He said non-Catholic Christians might suggest the procession participants are engaging in “idol worship.
“We’ll be singing and worshiping around a piece of bread in a big ornate, gold monstrance,” he said. “They would think that that’s a violation — ‘You guys are worshiping idols.’ And they would be right — if that was just bread.”
Father Dwyer said even modern-day Catholics are confused by this concept.
Hence, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called for a revival to help parishioners understand the true significance of the Eucharist.
“Our bishops,” Father Dwyer explained, “declared a three-year period of revival around this summit and source of our faith.
“There have been surveys that show that an alarmingly small percentage of Catholics here in the U.S. really understand and believe what it is that the Church teaches about the Eucharist.”
But, he noted, “we don’t adore and worship bread. We recognize that what happens here on the altar during Mass (consecration) allows God to truly be present to us,” Father Dwyer said. “Then we can proudly proclaim as Catholics we are not worshiping idols.”
Father Bryan Patterson, rector of the Cathedral Basilica of St. James, celebrated the Mass, with concelebrants from the eight parishes.
These parishes comprise Deanery B3, one of 22 deaneries in the Diocese of Brooklyn.
The B3 parishes are St. Charles Borromeo, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Boniface, Sacred Hearts of Jesus & Mary & St. Stephen, Cathedral Basilica of St. James, St. Mary Star of the Sea, St. Paul and St. Agnes, and Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Josephine Glasgow, a parishioner from St. Mary Star of the Sea, was on the verge of tears as she described how the Church and the rest of the world must draw closer to Jesus.
“We really do need this,” she said of the multi-parish gathering. “It’s gonna make me cry because we haven’t done this in a long time.
“There’s so much going on — I don’t know what the world is coming to. But this brings us together.”
Bishop Brennan arrived at the Mass after attending other Corpus Christi celebrations in the diocese.
He then joined in the procession and carried the Eucharist in a monstrance.
The procession also ushered in the second phase of the three-year National Eucharistic Revival — the Year of Parish Revival. The first phase was the Year of the Diocese Revival.
Throughout the coming year, each parish is asked to develop grassroots efforts inspired by four “invitations.”
They include: reinvigorated worship, personal encounters with Christ, robust formation, and sending missionaries to reconnect with lapsed Catholics and serve the poor.
The third phase will be the Year of Mission, including the National Eucharistic Congress, July 17-21, 2024, in Indianapolis.