A huge crowd of faithful from the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph and the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas showed their devotion to the Blessed Sacrament during a Corpus Christi Procession through downtown Kansas City on Sunday. KCK Archbishop Joseph Naumann and KC-SJ Bishop Robert Finn took turns carrying the monstrance through the streets.
The procession began and ended at Old St. Patrick, the beautifully renovated home of Kansas City’s Latin Mass community, and passed by the Federal courts and City Hall.
In his homily at Benediction following the procession, Bishop Finn urged the faithful to commit to prayer for the purity of priests, that priests will be dedicated to the Eucharist and Confession and for more priests in this final week of the Year for Priests. The full text of his homily is below the pictures.
“The bread that I will give is My Flesh for the life of the world.”
Dear Archbishop Naumann, My brother priests and deacons,
Dear Consecrated men and women, Dear Seminarians
Faithful of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas
Faithful of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph
Thank you for joining Archbishop Naumann and me in this profound act of faith and witness, by which we have held up and shown forth within our community the very Bread of Life, Jesus Christ. What we have done today is beautiful and powerful. We pray that these Benedictions which we have traced in the streets of Kansas City will extend to all the members of our dioceses and communities: that they will be a source of conversion and renewal, a gift of peace and unity; a cause of a more active charity; a sign of hope in the Risen Jesus, who lives among His people. He is our life: the life of the world.
In the last encyclical he wrote, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, The Church Draws Her Life from the Eucharist, Pope John Paul II reminds us that “The Eucharist is indelibly marked by the Lord’s passion and death, of which it is not only the reminder, but the sacramental representation.” (no. 11)
Friends, let us not fail to grasp the enormity of this reality. The Mass continues and renews the sacrifice. The Pope goes on to say that this sacrifice is “so decisive for the salvation of the human race that Jesus Christ offered it to the Father only after He had left us a means of sharing it, as if we had been present there.” (no. 11)
Listen to what we are taught: Jesus’ Flesh is given for the life of the world. The sacrifice of the Mass is decisive for the salvation of the human race.
Dear friends, how we need the Eucharist! How we need the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass! And therefore, How we need our priests!
This month marks the conclusion of a Year for Priests, announced last June by our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI. This Friday, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Pope will gather with priests from all over the world to mark the close of the Year for Priests.
My message to you on the Corpus Christi day in 2010, dear friends, is this: Pray intensely – this week especially – for our priests. This has not, in every way been an easy year for our Holy Father. It has not been entirely an easy year for priests; for the Church. We have been tried; perhaps purified in some ways through suffering. The devil still wages war on priests – but the High Priest is infinitely more powerful than the devil. Mary Mother of priests has queenship over men, saints and angels. In these last days of the Year for Priests, let us make a great offering of prayer and love for our priests. Why now? Why today? Today we hold up the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the highest calling of our priests. This is why we are priests: so that we can daily bring to God’s holy people the Bread of Life, necessary to the life of the world. The priest at the altar makes present the very Sacrifice of Calvary.
We need our priests. Pray without ceasing, make sacrifices for our priests, especially this week. I would suggest three particular intentions in this regard, all of which were expressed by Pope Benedict a year ago.
1) Pray for the purity and perseverance of priests: purity, holiness, and life-long fidelity. There are often temptations. We priests need your prayers.
2) Pray that priests will be devoted to the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist. In this Year under the patronage of St. John Vianney, may we also be constantly available to our people as wise and merciful confessors. We have to love the Eucharist, which is the font and summit of the whole Christian life, and the source of the priests pastoral love. No priests – no Eucharist. No Eucharist – no Church.
3) Pray for more priests. Pray that your sons, your grandsons, will be called to priesthood. If you young men have been thinking about priesthood, today is a day to ask God to deepen and intensify your desire and the necessary elements that might lead you to seminary. This is a vocation from God and from the Church – both parts are necessary. And we, God’s people must pray and pray and pray, and beg God for more priests. We have had an increase in vocations in both our dioceses. Lord, You know it is not enough. Please give us more priests. Help us take care of them: We ask You this – in the Presence of the Eucharistic Lord, Bread of Life, Eternal Priest, Hope of the World. We beg you hear our prayer that what we do today will be able to be continued until the end of time, in every one of our communities.
For the Purity of our priests; that our priests will be dedicated to the Eucharist and Confession; for more Priests. Let us pray for the granting of these needs at the conclusion of this Year for Priests.
Finally, let us ask Mary, who received our Lord with such purity, humility and devotion, to assist us to do what we do worthily on this Eucharistic day. Amen.