Happy Feast of Christ the King!
Last year our school got a brand new priest, Father Peter. For the first time in my life, I am older than one of my pastors. (Only by a year, but still.) I know this will eventually become more common, but it’s been really fun to have a priest who is also a friend to me and to our family. My parents had priest friends, but I never have.
One of my favorite things about Father Peter is his ability to go with the flow and help me tackle some of my crazy ideas. In one conversation, I mentioned that the summer camp I went to almost always included a procession of some sort. Sometimes it was a Eucharistic procession with the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, often it was a Marian procession to celebrate Our Lady on the feast of the Assumption. He asked me if we had ever done one at the school, to which I said I didn’t think so. “Let’s do it,” he said, and the plan was officially hatched.
We settled on the feast of Christ the King for our procession. My class had just learned the story of Blessed Miguel Pro, a Jesuit priest who died in Mexico in 1927. A martyr, his last words as he faced his executioners were, Viva Cristo Rey! or Long live Christ the King! We used his words on banners and on the canopy that sheltered the Eucharist on our way around the block. While some of the teachers initially seemed taken aback by the weird idea, it was such a cool experience for our students, who had never done anything like it.
We met in the Church for the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and then the seventh graders were the candle and cross bearers as well as the makers and carriers of the canopy that we held over the monstrance as Father processed with it around the block. While it certainly wasn’t the fanciest or most traditional, I think God probably appreciated our homemade touch. The students had made the canopy our of red butcher paper with a meticulously cut yellow paper fringe. One side held the words Long life Christ the King! and the other Viva Cristo Rey! We held it over the monstrance with yardsticks.
The elementary classes made signs and we marched around the block singing Father I Adore You. When we made it around the block we gathered in front of the steps to the building, sang another song and then Father gave the entire school a Eucharistic blessing. He then visited each classroom with the monstrance and led the class in a short time of prayer.
All in all, it was definitely a very Catholic day at our school, and one that made the students feel proud of their faith. It also was a strong witness to our neighborhood, which isn’t really the best. If you haven’t tried a Eucharistic Procession at your school or Church, I strongly encourage you to try. At first we thought it would be too crazy, but it turned out to be a really easy and cool experience for everyone. We liked it so much that we did another one the next year for Saint Joseph day. (I’ll tell you more about that another time.)
Here are some videos from that amazing day from our school Facebook page: