Thousands of Catholics joined the second Corpus Christi procession of the Blessed Sacrament in central London on Sunday 7 June. The procession began at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street and finished at St James’, Spanish Place with a stop en route at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family in Exile next to Oxford Street.
Before the procession left Farm Street, the Cardinal spoke to the crowd who had packed into the Church saying that ‘today we take Jesus to our streets not as a stranger, but as King and Lord of creation’. He also thanked those in attendance for bearing witness to the Christ in such a visible way in the heart of the capital.
The procession was led by Knights and Dames from the Orders of Malta and the Holy Sepulchre with their flags. Behind them, children who had recently made their First Holy Communion dropped white rose petals onto the street in front of Blessed Sacrament which was carried firstly by Fr Dominic Robinson SJ from Farm Street to the Ukrainian Cathedral, and then by Fr Christopher Colven from the Ukrainian Cathedral to his parish of St James’. Behind them were Cardinal Vincent, Canon Christopher Tuckwell, Administrator of the Cathedral and Canon Daniel Cronin who was present at the consecration of Farm Street church in 1993. A cantor led chants in Latin and English to accompany the procession which included the Litany of the Saints and well known Eucharistic hymns.
As the procession made its way through the back streets of London, responses from members of the public varied. There was interest and apathy alike as some people stopped and observed the procession whilst others simply continued with their afternoon. The sight of the procession crossing Oxford Street was met with a mixture of perplexity and awe as shoppers paused on the pavements and watched the thousands file past. Members of the Order of Malta handed out small leaflets to the public explaining to them what was happening and a great number pulled out mobile phones and tablet devices to record the event. It was clear that as the procession moved through the city people were joining its ranks and by the time it reached Spanish Place for Benediction, the church was full with standing room only.
At Spanish Place, Cardinal Vincent led Benediction to conclude the procession. He then celebrated the 7pm evening Mass in the Church. In his homily he spoke of the ‘unbounded joy for it is the Feast of the Love of God for us all, the love shown in Jesus.’ The full homily can be read HERE.
For more photos of the procession, please click HERE.