Feast unites the faithful

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Canopy bearers escort Christ in the Blessed Sacrament through the streets of Punchbowl and Greenacre on 16 July. Photo: Patrick J Lee
Canopy bearers escort Christ in the Blessed Sacrament through the streets of Punchbowl and Greenacre on 16 July. Photo: Patrick J Lee

Melkites, Maronites and Roman Catholics process Blessed Sacrament in proud witness to their faith

In an epic display of love of Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament, about 1000 people from the Roman Catholic, Melkite and Maronite churches gathered for a Eucharistic procession through the streets of Sydney’s southwest on the feast of Corpus Christi.

Parishioners from St Jerome’s Parish, Punchbowl, St Charbel’s Maronite Parish in Punchbowl and St John the Beloved Melkite parishes in Greenacre joined in the prayerful candlelit procession accompanied by their respective pastors Fr Joseph Gedeon, Fr Charbel Abboud and Fr Ibrahim Sultan.

The first annual joint procession was in 2018 at the instigation of Fr Gedeon, and grew to an 800-strong crowd in 2019 before the pandemic put a halt to the event.

Last Thursday evening’s procession began with the praying of the Divine Mercy chaplet in St Jerome’s church and concluded with Mass at St Charbel’s with worshippers overflowing outside the Maronite church.

Traffic controllers and police escorted the procession, ensuring safety as it wound its way through suburban streets and thoroughfares. The procession, which has grown from year to year, is held on the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ - Corpus Christi - on Thursday 16 July. Photo: Patrick J Lee
Traffic controllers and police escorted the procession, ensuring safety as it wound its way through suburban streets and thoroughfares. The procession, which has grown from year to year, is held on the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ – Corpus Christi – on Thursday 16 July. Photo: Patrick J Lee

Guided by a police escort and traffic controllers, the faithful convoy followed a cross-shaped monstrance along Punchbowl Road and through back streets, passing shops and houses, praying the rosary and singing hymns with music played by St John’s Pipes and Drums Band.

“The feast of Corpus Christi is a Roman Catholic feast day, not a Maronite one, but our faith is very much imbued in our culture and we welcome being involved in opportunities to publically witness to our faith,” said Daniel Merhi, youth coordinator at St Charbel’s.

“The youth are quite passionate about getting involved and promoting our common belief in the true presence of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist.

“Ultimately it all comes down to the universal nature of the Catholic Church.”