The Immaculate Conception Church celebrated the Feast of Corpus Christi on June 2 with a procession. This feast commemorates the belief shared by all Catholics that Christ is truly present for us in the Eucharist as the Lord’s body and blood.
The history of the Feast of Corpus Christi needs to be explained to truly understand the importance of this special feast day. In the thirteenth century our Lord chose a 13-year-old Belgian nun, Juliana of Retinna, to be the instrument of this devotion. As the nun was in prayer, a brilliant moon continually appeared to her in a vision. Juliana tried to chase the vision away, but to no avail. Our Lord appeared to her to explain why he wanted a special feast day.
Our Lord stated that this special feast day would aid the Catholic doctrine, especially in these days that the faith of the world is getting colder. Our Lord also stated that the faithful who seek love/piety in their lives would gain new strength and vigor on their daily journey here on earth.
Our Lord told Juliana that the Eucharist is treated with much disrespect in the church. The only recourse is to have a sincere and profound adoration (procession) to address this disrespect. He told Juliana to announce to the Christian world that this feast should be observed. If Jesus was obedient to God by dying on the cross, we, the children of God need to be even more obedient to Jesus who calls us to process in this beautiful feast day.
For the past several years, the Immaculate Conception Church has been celebrating this feast day with a procession.
The procession takes place at the Carnegie Library park after the 11 a.m. Mass on Corpus Christi Sunday. All Catholic organizations have been participating. This procession starts from inside the Church. The altar server as the cross bearer, along with all the children, lead the congregation out of the church. Father George Salazar, with the blessed sacrament, is the last to leave escorted by the Knights of Columbus carrying a canopy over him and the Blessed Sacrament.
The Carnegie Library has been the center of many blessings. Three families are chosen every year to set up altars around the park. These altars, in honor of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are exquisitely decorated with white table cloths, flowers candles and pictures of the Sacred Heart. As Father George approaches each altar, prayer becomes the dominant language. He blesses the altar and the families as well as the church congregation who participate in the procession. He also prays at each altar for the needs of the community for much needed rain, for healings for the sick, for marriages and families, as well as praying for those of our community who have passed away. While Father George is going around the park to each of the altars, a rosary can be heard being prayed by the Catholic Daughters and the ACTS men’s group; and the Divinas Alabanzas Choir is singing songs relating to this feast day. Father George, who just celebrated his 46th anniversary as a priest, has been an inspiration to the people of Las Vegas and surrounding communities. He has two daily masses. Each of his Sunday masses fill the church to capacity. Yet in his busy schedule, Father George makes special time to lead his flock, as a true shepherd, in the Corpus Christi Procession.
So many graces and blessings take place when the Catholic world recognizes the Blessed Sacrament. This procession requires help and organization by many dedicated people. It would not be successful without the Catholic Daughters, Ladies Altar Society, English Spanish Sacred Heart League, ACTS men’s group, the ushers, the Knights of Columbus, Divinas Alabanzas Choir, and those who help: Rose and Richard Morales, Kathy Villegas, RoseAnn Carrillo, Robert Salas, Marcella Lujan, Marquisa and Santiago Lucero, Rose Guttierez, Emily Gonzales, Sinfer Archuleta and Destiny, Reymundo Melendez, Lucille Vigil, and all the children who carry flowers to each altar. The flowers are always donated by Bernadette Gold and Daniel Salazar of Pam’s Flower Shop. We would also like to thank Mr. Micheal Gonzales and Lowe’s Super Save, Mr. John Quintana and Walgreen Drug Store and Mrs. Veronica Allen and Wal-mart Supercenter for the donations that are greatly appreciated. This year we would like to express our gratitude to the families that set up the altars, namely Mr. and Mrs. Seferino Medina and family, Mr. and Mrs. Max Salazar and family and Mr. and Mrs. Tony Pino and family. Last, but not least, we would like to thank Father George and Deacon Ernest Chavez for their continued support and participation. We thank all those who helped in one way or another whom we have inadvertently left out.
May God bless each and everyone who made this possible.
George Alderete is an active member of the Immaculate Conception Parish and may be reached at 425-0992.