By Sarah Mac Donald - 23 June, 2014
Annual Corpus Christi procession in Cork celebrates 89th anniversary.
Speaking ahead of the annual Cork Corpus Christi procession on Sunday, the Bishop said he was particularly mindful of those who are graduating this year and those currently sitting their Leaving Certificate in a time of fewer jobs.
He said he was also mindful of those who had emigrated from the city and who were now working and living abroad.
The Bishop asked all present to pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
In the context of the Eucharistic Procession, Bishop Buckley said that the Eucharist and priesthood were co-dependent. “We cannot have one without the other,” he warned.
He encouraged all to pray for vocations and to offer encouragement to those who may be considering a vocation.
Sunday’s Eucharistic Procession is Cork’s 89th. The tradition began in 1926 when a group of business men in the city approached the then Bishop, Dr Daniel Coholan, with a view to having an Eucharistic Procession in the city to mark the Feast of Corpus Christi.
Commenting on this year’s procession, Bishop Buckley said, “Our Eucharistic Procession was an opportunity for the people of the city to give public witness to their faith. I am delighted with the support and I offer my thanks to the many individuals and Catholic groups who contribute significantly to the life of our city.”
Archbishop Eamon Martin, Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh, delivered the homily at a specially erected altar at Daunt’s Square on Patrick’s Street.
“It does not matter who we are, or what our station in life is, we are One in the presence of our Lord – woman or man, rich or poor, famous or forgotten,” Archbishop Martin said.
“We are together in the presence of the ‘Living Bread come down from heaven!’”
The Archbishop, who brought greetings to the Cork faithful from the Orchard County of Armagh and the Oak County of Derry asked, “But don’t you wonder sometimes: why would Jesus want to walk with us – we, who are sinners, who often do the exact opposite of what he calls us to do or be?”
“We, who can be so wrapped up in ourselves at times, blind to our brothers and sisters in their need; we, who can be so critical and judgemental of others, but slow to recognise our own faults?”
“No wonder we say before receiving the Eucharist: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof!”
“The Gospel reassures us that Jesus wants to be present with us, even though we are sinners – no, it is precisely BECAUSE we are sinners that Jesus reaches out to us, because He wants to show us His mercy and heal us.”
“Jesus sees the good in us despite our sins and unworthiness. He notices the glimmer of faith even in those of us who may have drifted away from Church.”
“Jesus detects the spark of hope in the darkest minds; He kindles the fire of love in the coldest of hearts.”
“The Gospels tell us that He liked to go out of His way to be with the sinful, the lepers and all those who were rejected or considered unclean by society. He preferred to spend His time with the outcasts, the poor, the weak – yes, even the dreaded tax collectors.”
“When the Pharisees asked, ‘Why does your Master eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ Jesus insisted, ‘I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners.’”
This year, as in previous years, the numbers in the procession were greatly enhanced by members of the Asian, African and Eastern European Communities in the city.
Special places were reserved for the sick and those in wheelchairs adjacent to the altar in Daunt’s Square and during the ceremony, Bishop Buckley imparted a blessing to the sick and infirm at the altar.
This year’s procession was also joined by the Lord Mayor of Cork City, Cllr Mary Shiels, members of the City Council, Public Representatives and representatives of UCC.
The Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Charles Brown, who preached at last year’s Procession, was also in attendance and walked in the Procession, accompanied by six of his classmates from seminary.
Archbishop Brown and his classmates are celebrating the silver jubilee of their priestly ordination this month.