By Celine Klosterman
MUSCATINE — Just as Jesus once walked through town streets spreading the Good News, the Savior traveled through the streets of Muscatine Sunday, followed by crowds like those described in the Gospels, according to Father Joseph Sia.
“Jesus will once again be walking in our streets,” he said in his homily during a bilingual Mass on June 6 celebrating the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, formerly known as the Feast of Corpus Christi. After Mass, the parochial vicar of Ss. Mary & Mathias Parish in Muscatine carried the monstrance during the parish’s third annual procession several blocks through the city. About 130 Catholics sang hymns in English and Spanish and carried banners and flags as neighborhood residents watched from porches. Knights of Columbus in full regalia marched behind about a dozen altar servers dressed in red, some of whom carried a canopy shielding the Eucharist.
The procession was one of several that took place in the Davenport Diocese last weekend.
The event “is not just a re-enactment of Jesus walking on earth,” Fr. Sia said. “It is a concrete way of public testimony to our belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. We are giving witness to the fact that our God loves us so much that he continues to be with us through the sacrifice of the bread and wine, which is consecrated into the body and blood of Jesus Christ.”
In a eucharistic procession, we also express our desire to accompany Jesus, Fr. Sia said.
But Christ’s public presence can’t be limited to just one day, he said. “Let us make every day a celebration of Corpus Christi … Let us ask our Lord to make our souls devoted to the Blessed Sacrament, so that our relationship with him brings forth joy and peace and a desire for justice. In this way, we can put Christ at the center of all our activities and we can make it easier for others to recognize Christ.”
The desire to help others recognize Jesus helped motivate parishioners Mary Anne Kessler and Dave Metz to take part in the procession.
“It’s showing God’s message instead of just telling it,” said Kessler, parish council president, who brought her 3- and 7-year-old sons along for the event. Catholics don’t evangelize by going door-to-door as members of some religions do, but the march offered a public witness of faith, she said.
“Everyone watching was wondering what this is about,” said Metz, parish stewardship chair. Faith needs to be shared, he added. “Christianity is like manure: pile it up in one place, and it stinks. But spread it around, and things grow.”