Eucharistic Procession at St. Paul’s at Harvard

Some years ago I was hanging around outside the Paul VI audience hall (Vatican) during a plenary session of the Italian Bishops Conference. I was waiting for my bishop to emerge. As I waited I chatted with fellow journalists, the bishops’ drivers and secretaries, a couple bishops who had fled the hall in the despair of boredom. The day before, I had been to a Eucharistic procession held by the Teutonic College, next to the Paul VI Hall, that went up through the Vatican gardens. Swiss Guards carried the canopy. Deep in his chest one old bishop rumbled:

“Meno chiacchiere – più processioni. … Less jabbering – more processions.”


This isn’t rocket science.

I received some photos of a Eucharistic procession from the chapel at MIT in Boston to St. Paul’s at Harvard.

My correspondent wrote:

Just a few pictures from the Eucharistic procession from MIT to Harvard last night. Turnout was amazing; St. Paul church was literally overflowing into the street.

I was at that church just over a year ago to sing a Mass and give a talk sponsored by the group Iuventutem.  It was a great experience.

Here are some images of their procession.

More photos HERE including one with them passing by a McDonald’s.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    But Father… you didn’t mention the WHY of the Eucharistic procession. I’ve been waiting for your comments on the whole controversy.

  2. Margaret says:

    Beautiful! Talk about drawing good out of evil!

    MIT’s “brick beehive” non-denom chapel may not have been the ideal starting point for the procession, but planning the walk straight up Mass Ave, through Central Square, was a smart move. There are some great photos in that flickr collection.

  3. Mike says:

    Let a thousand processions bloom! (Hint to pastors and parish councils: Corpus Christi is coming up.)

  4. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    You have to be very, very strong in the faith to survive MIT. It is a good Catholic community there, and an appropriate starting point because it links the two best-known Boston universities together. As for the chapel… My daughter was baptised in the MIT chapel (20+ years ago). Even though I ‘m conservative in faith and tastes, I find it one of most beautiful modern chapels, mostly owing to the reflections of the water on the chapel walls.

  5. Traductora says:

    I utterly, totally, completely and redundantly agree with the cardinal! Processions and popular devotions are what does it.

    In Spain, I believe the Cardinal of Madrid (Rouco) basically revived the much beleaguered Faith there in Madrid simply by encouraging traditional processions, Nativity scenes and popular devotions that all the clergy since VII had been trying to stamp out. Now they have vocations and a lot of the “new movements,” such as the Neocatechumenate (not popular with many because of their somewhat odd liturgy, but a great generator of orthodox faith and vocations).

    When we have a procession here in St Augustine where I live, even the tourists, most of whom are probably not Catholic or are seriously lapsed, follow along. And from working at the Cathedral, I know that some of them then get curious and want to know more.

  6. Margaret says:

    I actually was teetering on the edge of leaving the Church when I got to MIT. Thanks to the presence of some outstanding Catholics in the pro-life group I gravitated towards, I made a life-changing retreat my freshman year. I really found my faith at MIT. I can’t speak for now, but at the time (class of ’93) Tech Catholic Community was the largest student organization on campus. The preaching wasn’t exactly a font of orthodoxy, but the sacraments were available, and the kids I encountered in TCC were, on the whole, willing to engage honestly with the teachings of the Church when they were presented.

    We’re going to have to agree to disagree on the chapel. Despite the efforts to bring natural light into the space, I always found the brick thing kind of suffocating. Put it this way: I got married in a proper, beautiful church off-campus even though DH & I were still full-time students. :)

  7. Elizabeth M says:

    I think Father was right not commenting on the other group. He waited, and instead of giving yet another venue and media light on that story, he shares the fruits of prayerful Catholics.

    More processions! That’s Catholic action. Let others see who we really are: diverse in many ways, but one with Christ.

  8. CharlesG says:

    Very nice to see something positive at one’s alma mater for a change… Our Lord in the heart of the Kremlin by the Charles!

  9. Animadversor says:

    It seems that Dr. Faust, the President of Harvard, attended a holy hour and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. This was a very gracious thing for her to do, and I for one am grateful. Is it the case that the holy hour was planned in response to the proposed black mass, or had it been scheduled already? Perhaps there could be more in the future, as a kind of prophylactic. Indeed, one reads in the The Boston Globe that at least one person had planned to attend the black mass out of curiosity merely, something which Father Zuhlsdorf has warned against. Perhaps if there were frequent and well-publicized holy hours and processions, people who are inclined to curiosity may have a more salutiferous opportunity to satisfy it.

  10. majuscule says:

    We really truly need more processions!

    The promoters of the event–that was or was not cancelled (and if not cancelled, at least moved to an off campus venue)–have complained (whined) that they got a lot of hate mail. They were frightened! You know, all those club wielding haters!

    The procession with the steadfast, devout participants joining with the Blessed Sacrament sends a powerful message. It’s a great example of something people of faith can do!

  11. Charivari Rob says:

    I’m in favor of mentioning the context of the Procession (without giving unnecessary publicity as to the organizers and details of the other, precipitating event – in case that was one of their goals). After all, the context is why it’s getting attention beyond the immediate area. Such Processions are far from unknown here in Boston, but usually don’t get any attention beyond the traffic report for the immediate neighborhood.

    That being said – it’s not my blog, Father Z doesn’t pretend to be a comprehensive news service, and the story has been getting pretty attentively elsewhere.

    The story does present some interesting hooks, though, that I’d be interested in Father Z’s take. Given Harvard President Faust’s being a descendant of Edwards, I was looking forward to our host fisking Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

  12. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    If one were writing this as a novel, rather than witnessing events, would it strike one as implausible to name the President ‘Dr. Faust’ ?

    (Mater alma sit!)

  13. HighMass says:

    Praise You Jesus!

  14. HighMass says:

    Our Lady said In the End Heart Immaculate Heart Will Triumph, of Course Her SON is leading all of us! Thank You Sweet Jesus!

  15. Lori Pieper says:

    I’ve been watching various videos of the Eucharistic Adoration, and I must say that St. Paul’s in Harvard Square is one gorgeous church!

  16. midwestmom says:

    I tried to talk a priest into organizing a Eucharistic procession through the streets of north Omaha, home to almost nightly shootings, mostly of young, black people. No dice.

  17. Lori Pieper says:

    Venerator Sti Lot:

    I apparently had the same flash of genius you did!

  18. Gratias says:

    Were those carriers of the canopy in the first photo Franciscans of the Immaculate?

    I agee with all above. Processions and exposition of the sacrament are great ways to go to the peripheries, and they were going extinct.

    One Holy Thursday I was asked to hold one of the poles of the canopy in a short procession while all others chanted Pane Lingua. It is a glorious memory.

    During the vigil for peace in Syria, which worked out perfectly, Pope Francis led the praying of the Holy Rosary for 100,000 people. Pilgrimages are a great expression of popular piety. The Bishops should promote them, even if they are from Neopelagians like me.

  19. Mike says:

    “I tried to talk a priest into organizing a Eucharistic procession through the streets of north Omaha, home to almost nightly shootings, mostly of young, black people. No dice.”

    We need a Church that does not fear to carry Her message. We need a Church that will evangelize tough neighborhoods with sweat and (genuine) solidarity, not with Lion King hymns from the chancel choir or social-justice stickers on commuting parishioners’ bumpers. Do it block by block, brick by brick, and they will organize the processions themselves — and bring in their own priest if they have to, and just try and stop them.

    There are at least three parishes here in the D.C. area where one could envision happening, this very year, something such as a home-grown Corpus Christi procession, and God bless the parishioners and priests who have dedicated their lives and disdained safety and comfort to live and preach the truth. Thirty years ago I wouldn’t have bet a nickel that any of those parishes would fail to close during my lifetime.

  20. Sonshine135 says:

    It brought me much joy to see this. I am glad to see our Lord and Lady prevail, and thousands of Catholics (1000 or so present and others present in spirit around the world) taking part in a holy hour. Holy hours, devotions, novenas, rosaries, adoration, and processions do seem to be becoming a more frequent occurance. Deo Gratias!

  21. Thomas S says:


    No, the friars holding the canopy are the Franciscans of Primitive Observance, or “FPOs” as they are commonly called. They are a Roman Catholic group that lives a strict observance of the Rule of St. Francis. They are based in Boston, Massachusetts and are erected as a Lay Association of the Faithful under the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston.

    – description courtesy of Wikipedia

  22. MKR says:

    I was there, for both the Procession and Holy Hour. I had never been in a fuller church in my life. I doubt I ever will be again. It was truly inspiring seeing such a large number of Catholics–in Cambridge, Massachusetts, no less!–responding with love to the purest form of hate.

  23. Priam1184 says:

    I hope that both Catholics and non-Catholics will notice something here: only the Catholic Church can do this. And it’s not because we are better than anyone else. It is simply that our Lord founded the Church expressly for this purpose and gave to her the weapons to achieve victory in this battle. This is the best news I have heard all year, maybe in several years. I don’t know whether or not I will be on earth to see its fall, but this age of darkness and despair will not last forever.

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