Students prepare for Eucharistic procession on April 23
Notre Dame will have a Eucharistic procession on campus on April 23 after the noon Basilica Mass. Organized by the Militia of the Immaculata, a student-run club, it will be the first Eucharistic procession at Notre Dame since a 2013 procession organized by Brett Perkins from Campus Ministry and student leaders from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s, and Holy Cross.
In anticipation of the event, Alex White, C.S.C., a fifth-year seminarian in temporary vows, current masters student, and graduate of Notre Dame, decided to host catechetically-focused Eucharistic Formation sessions. These sessions, intended for undergraduate students, prepared them for the procession and motivated them to involve the rest of campus in it.
The procession was spurred by the Eucharistic Revival, a two-year initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) that began on June 19, 2022, the Feast of Corpus Christi. Professor Tim O’Malley, the Academic Director of Notre Dame Center for Liturgy at the McGrath Institute for Church Life, told the Rover how the sessions related to the USCCB’s vision for the Eucharistic Revival: “The Eucharistic Revival is about a personal encounter with Christ in the Eucharist. And for that reason, formation is always personal. It involves each of us thinking through, imagining anew what it means to encounter Christ and live a Eucharistic life. Sessions in which we reflect upon this are essential.”
Opening the introductory session in Geddes Coffeehouse, White invited participants to share stories from their First Communion. After that, there were three Sunday sessions which were about one hour each. The sessions were entitled “Biblical Theology of the Eucharist”; “Eucharistic Processions: Then and Now” and “Evangelizing Through the Eucharist.” According to White: “The format for the sessions mirrors the reception of revelation. First, we studied the Biblical theology of the Eucharist. Then, we studied developments of Eucharistic devotion throughout history. Finally, we ended on how to share this great gift with others, since the Eucharist is about self-gift.”
Reflecting on what she had learned at the sessions, Alexandra Buchlmayer, a junior at Holy Cross College, told the Rover, “It was eye-opening to make the connection between Mary’s Visitation to Elizabeth as the first ‘Eucharistic procession’ as Jesus was inside her, and also to learn about St. Tarcisius: a child from the third century who died a martyr while protecting the Eucharist on his way to give it to the disciples that were imprisoned for their faith.”
Each session was preceded by an hour of Eucharistic Adoration in Our Lady of Mercy Chapel in Geddes. After the first meeting, White assigned each participant a prayer partner, directing them in an email afterwards to “consider how you might hold one another accountable to certain holy endeavors. Once God has given you a prayer regimen to keep, or a mission to execute, share that with someone trustworthy and follow up on it together.”
Throughout the duration of the sessions, White also recommended that participants meet with him to discuss the topics further. On how the idea for prayer partners emerged, he shared that “if you listen to the people of God long enough, they tell you what they want. One of the students who wanted to talk with me said, ‘it’s really important that we don’t just talk about prayer but that they actually pray.’”
Jack Thornton, a sophomore theology and philosophy student who attended two of the sessions shared his enthusiasm for them with the Rover: “It has been so encouraging to be present at these sessions with so many other students who have such a love for Christ. We are all working to grow in our own devotion, so as to better witness to the beautiful reality that is our Lord in the Eucharist.”
Piper Ogden, a sophomore at St. Mary’s College, was particularly impressed by the community at the sessions: “I have been so inspired by the faith and reverence of the other attendees and particularly moved by Alex’s witness! He is an incredible example of the joy which a life lived for Christ brings, and continuously reminds us that we have been created for love and provided for in abundance. I am very grateful to him for his leadership!”
As an epilogue to the sessions and procession, White plans to host a watch and conversation on the movie Babette’s Feast.
Buchlmayer extended an invitation to all: “I encourage anyone, especially if you are not Catholic, to come witness the beauty and wonder that is a Eucharistic procession; a walk with Christ truly present as much as He was in Jerusalem 2000 years ago.”
The procession, which will include stops at three altars for each of the three campus communities (Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s, and Holy Cross) set up around South Quad, will begin from the west doors of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at approximately one o’clock on Sunday, April 23.
Kathryn Bowers enjoys running on Notre Dame’s campus. She is in search of running companions–email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to join her.
Photo Credit: Gregory A. Schmitz/CNS
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