Father Jerome Guld carries the Blessed Sacrament from St. Paul Church.
Father Jerome Guld carries the Blessed Sacrament from St. Paul Church.
In the midst of people eating lunch and shopping in stores along High Street in Burlington City, a group of parishioners from St. Katharine Drexel Parish spent their Saturday afternoon May 14 displaying their faith in a very public way.

The parishioners, along with pastor Father Jerome Guld, commemorated the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima with a Marian Eucharistic procession during which they prayed for the intentions of peace and all life issues.

PHOTO GALLERY: Marian Eucharistic Procession in Burlington

Before stepping off for the half-mile walk that began in the parish’s St. Paul Church on East Union Street and traveled to All Saints Church on High Street, Father Guld led an opening prayer followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.

Once outside, the congregation witnessed the lighting of a “Fire of Peace.” Father Guld built the fire in a cauldron and then filled it with two years’ worth of palms that had been turned in by parishioners since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the Holy Oils used in the administration of the Sacraments from the past two years. The Fire of Peace was used to properly dispose of the palm and Holy Oils and lit as a “prayer for peace for Ukraine, Russia and the world.”

Accompanied by a police escort, the procession began with the congregants reciting the Rosary and singing hymns. A statue of Our Lady of Fatima, mounted on a stand draped in blue and adorned with florals, was carried by four parishioners, while Father Guld carried the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament. Once in All Saints Church, the statue of the Blessed Mother was crowned followed by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Father Guld smiled as he explained how the idea for the procession evolved. During the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said the parish’s former parochial vicar, Father Michael Kennedy, who “naively thought we’d be ‘done’” [with the pandemic] a few weeks later, was hoping a procession could be held on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus, which is the Feast of Corpus Christi.

“The idea was to get back to Jesus, back to church and back outside all at once. But it worked just as well now, two years later, and includes ‘back to Mary,’” Father Guld said. “Folks in Burlington are well aware of our buildings, and they see us coming and going during Mass. Now they can see us proudly following our Lord down the street on a day other than Sunday.

“It’s important that we all remember to witness publicly to our faith as frequently as possible,” he said.

Reflecting on how many of the older traditions of the Church such as processions, May crownings, Adoration and Holy Hours have lapsed, Deacon Walter Karpecik said that “now we want to bring them back to life.

“I believe we accomplished our goal,” he said of the May 14 procession. “It gave everyone a wonderful feeling that just can’t be explained in words. There were many smiles and tears of joy, and to me that said it all.”

Having the opportunity to participate in a longtime Church tradition such as a Eucharistic procession brought back pleasant memories for parishioner Barbara Winiarski who said she was reminded of the processions she had participated in when she lived in Germany.

“I’m reliving my childhood by participating in something so sacred,” she said, then added that she was happy to be able to “give witness to others” and convey the beauty of the Catholic faith.