Texas Bishop Tells Catholic Priests in His Diocese to Lead Eucharistic Processions to Fight Coronavirus
A tweet by Stream contributor Jennifer Hartline inspires action.
A Tyler, Texas, bishop has asked each Catholic priest in his diocese to lead a “Eucharistic Procession” around their church to fight Coronavirus.
Catholics believe that Jesus comes to us in the bread and wine used in Communion. In a procession, Catholics follow Jesus in the host through the public streets, praying and singing hymns. It symbolizes our pilgrimage as Christians through life, but also declares to the world that Jesus is Lord. Including Lord over disease and death.
Bishop Joseph Strickland called for the procession following a tweet from Stream senior contributor, Jennifer Hartline. Hartline called on every bishop across the nation to lead a procession around their local church and pray.
Get Out There and Pray
Hartline tweeted, “Every bishop. Every city. Process with the Blessed Sacrament through the streets of your city! GET OUT THERE with Jesus and PRAY for divine mercy and protection! LIFT THE LORD HIGH! You have apostolic authority — USE IT!! Where is your supernatural [email protected]”
Every bishop. Every city. Process with the Blessed Sacrament through the streets of your city! GET OUT THERE with Jesus and PRAY for divine mercy and protection! LIFT THE LORD HIGH! You have apostolic authority — USE IT!! Where is your supernatural faith?!?@USCCB
— Jennifer Hartline (@jenniehartline) March 10, 2020
Hartline then tweeted specific bishops, including Strickland. “I believe YOU WILL do this. That’s the kind of bishop you are.” Strickland responded with a tweet of his own: “Wonderful idea. I will begin preparing to do this and encourage others to do the same. Jesus Christ is LORD!!!.”
Wonderful idea. I will begin preparing to do this and encourage others to do the same. Jesus Christ is LORD!!! https://t.co/VRNZYDESUb
— Bishop J. Strickland (@Bishopoftyler) March 11, 2020
Strickland then tweeted a call to other bishops to do the same. “I call on every Catholic priest to lead a simple Eucharistic Procession around your Church sometime before the Feast of St. Joseph, March 19, for repentance, Christ’s healing hand on the Coronavirus & that all men may be Godly, manly sons & disciples of His Son Jesus Christ.”
I call on every Catholic priest to lead a simple Eucharistic Procession around your Church sometime before the Feast of St Joseph, March 19, for repentance, Christ’s healing hand on the Coronavirus & that all men may be Godly, manly sons & disciples of His Son Jesus Christ.
— Bishop J. Strickland (@Bishopoftyler) March 11, 2020
Friday morning Strickland led the Eucharistic Procession after the 7:00 a.m. mass. It was held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Tyler, Texas. Strickland wrote on his website that the procession was “a great blessing and a moment of grace.” While the crowd was larger than usual, people kept their distance in light of the coronavirus.
During the Procession Strickland and others prayed, pausing in each direction. They asked “the Lord of Lords to offer His grace and protection.” They proceeded outside and prayed for Tyler, the Diocese, the nation and all of God’s people around the world.
Strickland added that God miraculously answered his prayer that the rain would hold off until after the Procession. “Last night I said a prayer that if the Procession was the Lord’s will the rain would hold off. It literally began to rain as I was leaving the Cathedral after the Procession. Many would discount this as just the quirky weather of East Texas but I encourage all people of faith to deepen our ‘faith instinct’ and believe that as Christ promises, when we ask in prayer the Lord hears us.”
According to LifeSiteNews, Strickland said he only preaches the truth of Christ. “I’m ordained to shepherd people according to that truth.” He added, “So it’s my job to teach what Christ teaches and so people, the laity that feel supported, hopefully they do feel supported.”
“I’m sure some feel challenged because it’s not exactly a comfortable gospel,” he continued. “[I]t’s a narrow path, in all aspects of living Catholic life of following Christ. It’s a narrow path that is hard to walk.”
Other Acts of Faith
Strickland isn’t the only one to lead a procession in response to the Coronavirus. Other priests are performing similar acts of faith.
Lebanese Christian Maronite priest Majdi Allawi took the Blessed Sacrament flying on a plane above Beirut.
This weekend @AFP flew with Lebanese Christian Maronite priest Majdi Allawi as he took to the skies above #Beirut to bless the crisis-hit country and protect it from the Coronavirus as fears of its spread spike | #COVIDー19 pic.twitter.com/S14fJIpGiT
— Dylan Collins (@collinsdyl) March 9, 2020
An Italian priest from Bibione rode through the city on the back of a truck with a large statue of Mary. He blessed the residents, streets and houses.
Ve la giro come arrivata su WApp – Il parroco di Bibione, ha preso l’ape ci ha caricato sopra la statua della madonna ed è andato in giro per il paese a benedire strade e case, fermato dai carabinieri ha risposto: sto lavorando!!! Un grande!!! – pic.twitter.com/wsYYYhGQiw
— Ibis rosso 🇮🇹 (@ibisrosso) March 11, 2020
Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, a priest and blogger, encouraged other priests to add Masses. Catholics understand that service as a prayer that can be offered for special intentions. He asked bishops to ask their priests to say an extra Mass every day, offered as a prayer against the spread of the disease.