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Parishes plan Corpus Christi processions

Outwardly demonstrating the real presence of Christ in the consecrated host, two Omaha-area parishes and St. Michael Parish in South Sioux City will mark the June 22 Solemnity of Corpus Christi with a procession.

St. Gerald Parish in Ralston will hold its third-annual procession at 6:30 p.m. June 21, the eve of the feast day, while St. Peter Parish in Omaha and St. Michael Parish have theirs scheduled for June 22.

Church rituals such as processions are a good way to build community and evangelize, said Father Owen Korte, pastor of St. Gerald.

"This is one way to give honor to Jesus and the Eucharist," Father Korte said.

St. Gerald’s one-mile procession will wind through the neighborhood, beginning and ending at the parish’s Lakeview Chapel, 78th and Lakeview. A trolley ride will be available, and the event will close with Benediction and a reception.

More than 200 people took part last year. Parishioners have embraced the procession and are working hard to increase turnout, Father Korte said.

The next day, a three-to-four block procession is planned near St. Michael Church in South Sioux City after 5 p.m. Mass. Held for about five years, the event last year drew about 300 people.

Benediction and adoration will be held in the church at 8 p.m. At 9 p.m., the Eucharist will be moved to a new perpetual adoration chapel near the back of the church.

St. Peter in Omaha will host its ninth-annual procession at 2:30 p.m. It is a parish tradition that last year attracted about 1,300 people.

Beginning at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, the 1.4-mile procession concludes at St. Peter Church for Benediction and an ice cream reception. Shuttles and a trolley will be available.

The route was chosen several years ago because it goes through some of the poorest neighborhoods in the city and some of the most beautiful, said Father Damien Cook, pastor of St. Peter.

Witnessing to Christ amidst the poverty, the procession provides hope for participants and those watching, with people from across the region unified in their belief in the Eucharist, he said.

"Everyone who is there becomes bonded in a special way," Father Cook said.