WALKING behind Christ through the streets of Brisbane has reignited the faith of a Catholic family who drifted from the Church in recent years.
John Monteath and his family were among an estimated 3500 to 4000 people who followed Christ in the Eucharist through the streets of Brisbane on the feast of Corpus Christi last Sunday.
The Brisbane-based lawyer said he attended the Corpus Christi procession because his family’s Catholic faith needed a “kick start”. The family had participated in a Passion Play in 2007, which Mr Monteath said had reignited his children’s faith “but since then it has diminished through distractions”.
When he reconnected with the Passion Play’s organisers, Corpus Christi Procession Brisbane committee members Roy and Fiona Pires, Mr Monteath was inspired to reignite his family’s faith again by attending the procession.
“It was a truly reverential experience,” he said.
“Now my son wants to go back to Mass and he has arranged a long overdue Confession.
“I have no doubt He (God) reconnected my family with Roy and Fiona to join the procession and reignite our faith.”
The large crowd processed from St Stephen’s Cathedral through to Creek and Queen streets, walked down Edward Street and returned to the cathedral for Benediction.
Archbishop Mark Coleridge brought out the monstrance from the cathedral, while Fr Michael Grace and Opus Dei priest Fr Peter Fitzsimons processed Our Lord through the streets.
“You don’t see the crowd because you’re right up the front,” Fr Fitzsimons said.
He said passers-by were respectful of the procession, with many taking photos as the crowd walked by with Our Lord at the helm.
“It’s the sense not so much that we bring Our Lord to the city but that He gives Himself to come there,” Fr Fitzsimons said.
“He gives himself through the Eucharist and we are able to carry him through the streets.”
Procession organiser Mr Pires said for the first time in the event’s three-year history, there was standing room only in the cathedral.
He said at least half the crowd were young people and many were only coming back to the faith for the first time.
“Everyone who was there was meant to be there because Our Lord wanted them there,” he said.
“We don’t know how Our Lord touches different people at different times to bring them back to faith.”
The organising committee hopes to invite students from all Brisbane Catholic schools to participate in next year’s event.
“It can only get better,” Mr Pires said.
Archbishop Coleridge said in his homily for the Brisbane procession that the mystery of the Eucharist was “strange” to “a world that regards it simply as some bizarre form of Catholic magic or Catholic mumbo jumbo”.
The Archbishop said the Eucharist showed the power of the Holy Spirit to make light out of darkness.
Through history, God through the person of the Holy Spirit had made the impossible possible – the creation of the world, the incarnation, the Resurrection and the birth of the Church at Pentecost, he said.
“This is what God is and it’s what God does,” Archbishop Coleridge said.
“And here at the altar which becomes the table, the Church calls down upon bread and wine the same Holy Spirit, saying move over these gifts of wine, do what seems to us impossible, make them for us the Body and Blood of Christ.
“Bread and wine becomes the Body and Blood of Christ, not because we did magic but because of the power of the Holy Spirit to do what by human reckoning is simply impossible.”