Sydney’s Corpus Christi procession draws thousands in ‘joyful witness’ of their love of Christ

Friday, Jun. 07, 2024
By OSV News

SYDNEY — Record crowds celebrated the largest “Walk With Christ” Australian initiative since the COVID-19 pandemic as more than 15,000 Catholics joined the procession through the streets of Sydney for the feast of Corpus Christi.

Speaking with joy at the public witness, Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney stated that the solemn event June 2 was an encouraging display of devotion as Australia aspires to host the 2028 International Eucharist Congress.

“Today, my dear friends, you have done as the council asked and helped prepare this city and country for that event we devoutly hope Pope Francis will grant us in 2028,” Archbishop Fisher said, referring to the Australian Plenary Council.

Auxiliary Bishop Richard Umbers of Sydney said he was proud the Sydney faithful showed the world why the council has asked for the opportunity to host an International Eucharistic Congress.

“It’s no secret that Australia aspires to host an International Eucharistic Congress, and such a public display of faith certainly adds credibility to our bid,” Bishop Umbers said.

As Sydney vicar for evangelization, Bishop Umbers said he was emboldened by the record crowds to host even more processions in the future.

“Momentum is building for an enlivened Eucharistic culture in Sydney. The faithful have always been present, they have just been longing for an outlet to proudly declare their love of Christ,” Bishop Umbers said.

As thousands arrived on a cold and windy Sunday afternoon in Martin Place in central Sydney, their hearts were soon warmed during the pre-procession festivities with music and parishes connecting in fraternity before an introduction from Father Roberto Keryakos, a priest at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

“Our Catholic faith is more beautiful than the world. Jesus Christ is more beautiful than anyone else, and he calls you and I to be holy,” Fr. Keryakos told the crowds. “Invite our Lord into those places that need his presence. Don’t be afraid. If it’s been a while, come back home. If it’s been a while, run back to God.”

The combined voices of Brigidine College Randwick and St. Peter Chanel Regent’s Park Catholic schools choirs of the Jubilate Deo program chanted solemnly as the shut-down business district anticipated the arrival of Christ.

The Eucharistic procession arrived shortly after at the ringing of the bells. Coming up from George Street, clergy led by Archbishop Fisher processed the Eucharistic Lord around the barricades before starting on their journey.

School and parish banners flew high above the sea of congregants who marched past a combination of confused bystanders and eager onlookers stopping to record the event; many stopped in reverence at the sight of the monstrance, even joining in on prayers with smiles and admiration.

A convenience shop worker on Macquarie Street left his post at the back register and pressed his face against the shop front window to get a glimpse of the sight.

Archbishop Fisher preached a “fervorino” – Italian for “a quick exhortation” on communion both with the Lord and with each other.

“Today, my dear people, you have very publicly acknowledged God. Today, you have very publicly witnessed hope and unity,” he said.

“My dear people, you have just proclaimed to our city the gift of redemption in Christ Jesus. Not through robust argument, clever rhetoric or special effects, but simply by ‘Walking With Christ,’ whom you love,” the archbishop said.

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