By Armando Machado
NEW YORK (OSV News) — About 2,700 people said prayers of worship in Spanish and sang songs of praise while processing with the Eucharist through Midtown Manhattan before celebrating a Pentecost vigil at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Priests, nuns, lay leaders, and the faithful prayed for the forgiveness of sins in the city, the world, and society at large. New York Police Department officers diverted vehicle and pedestrian traffic for the procession, which a motorcycle officer escorted.
The two-hour afternoon “procession of hope,” a Catholic Charismatic Renewal event, was led by New York Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Espaillat. It began at Times Square’s Father Duffy Square and featured several stops for brief adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, many people kneeling on the pavement, some overcome with emotion.
The longest stop, about 20 minutes, was on West 50th Street near Fifth Avenue, with the cathedral in sight. It was there when several people aided a young woman who fainted during intense prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. Later, on Fifth Avenue, New York City Mayor Eric Adams was seen among procession onlookers; he greeted several coordinators and participants.
“Glory to the Lord; glory to the Lord. Praise him; give the glory to him,” Bishop Espaillat, using a bullhorn, shouted in Spanish during a pre-procession rally at Father Duffy Square. “Glory to Christ. Let us praise him; let us praise him. Jesus Christ is alive; glory, glory, glory … Thank you, Lord; thank you, Lord.”
The faithful repeated the bishop’s intense words of praise, his urgent pleas to glorify the Lord. The bishop added several times, “Jesus Christ is the Lord. Jesus Christ is the Lord.” The people responded loudly with the same words as the procession began.
As he often does, the bishop repeated some of his remarks in English. Assisting Bishop Espaillat with procession bullhorn shouts were other organizers, including Juan de la Rosa, director of the archdiocesan Hispanic Catholic Charismatic Renewal, which organized the procession and vigil.
Among the procession goers were Altagracia Morales and Lucia Caraballo, both parishioners of St. Anthony Padua in the Bronx, where Bishop Espaillat is pastor. They said they wanted to be at the procession and vigil as part of their faith journey to glorify the Lord.
“We came here to walk with the Lord, to walk with the Powerful One,” Morales told The Good Newsroom, the online news outlet of the Archdiocese of New York, as the procession proceeded up Broadway.
“This is important because I love Jesus Christ. I love him and I follow him,” Caraballo said. “It is a privilege for me to be here today, praising him and glorifying his holy and blessed Name. Amen.”
Porfilio Tavarez, a parishioner of St. John the Evangelist in Bergenfield, New Jersey, said he was in the procession “because Jesus is here; Christ is here. The church is everything; we are following his apostles.”
Several priests took turns holding the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament during the procession, including Father Shane Johnson, administrator at St. Anthony of Padua and director of the adjacent Hispanic Catholic Charismatic Center.
Later, during the Pentecost vigil, Father Johnson spoke to the faithful about the importance of growing in the faith by following “Jesus Christ, king of New York, king of Times Square, king of this cathedral.” His words were met with loud applause.
Father Johnson and other priests at the vigil, which ended at midnight, were assisted by lay members in leading people in prayers and songs, also in charismatic style as during the procession, with the faithful responding with great emotion and enthusiasm.
The Eucharistic procession was organized in support of the Catholic Church’s National Eucharistic Revival; another is planned for Corpus Christi Sunday, June 11, on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx.
The mission of the National Eucharistic Revival, “My flesh for the life of the world, John 6:51,” is to “renew the Church by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.”
The revival’s vision is “A movement of Catholics across the United States, healed, converted, formed, and unified by an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist — and sent out in mission ‘for the life of the world.'”
The New York State Eucharistic Congress will be held from Oct. 20-22 this year in Auriesville.
The National Eucharistic Congress is set for July 17 to 21, 2024, in Indianapolis, Indiana.