Procession on Holy Thursday

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: We are in a downtown church with no property, not even a parking lot, just the church.  In the past on Holy Thursday for the procession with the Eucharist the priests, ministers and people have processed outside the church and around the block (with a police escort) and then back into the church to the side altar where the Eucharist will be reposed until midnight.  There apparently is a long history of this and you end up processing by several restaurants. We have a new group of priests, and the suggestion was made to just do the procession in the church. Our liturgy committee is divided over this issue, some feel that processing outside is evangelizing and giving witness to our faith while the others say that is not really what the rite is calling for.  What is your opinion?


A: I agree with those who say that is not really what the rite is calling for. Rubric 38 describes a procession “through the church to a place of repose prepared in a part of the church or in a chapel suitably decorated.” 

Now, the solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord (Corpus Christi) is another matter. A procession in the streets on that day is most appropriate. But this isn’t the same. Holy Thursday includes no monstrance. It’s transferring holy communion to a place where it can be accessed the next day.