Sydney’s Christmas on the Streets attracted the biggest crowd in its 11-year history, bringing together more than 250 people for the annual procession from St Patrick’s church, Bondi, to St Mary’s Cathedral.
The pilgrims, mostly young adults, arrived to a crowd of thousands gathered in the illuminated forecourt of St Mary’s on 22 December for Christmas at the Cathedral.
The procession of a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and a relic of Christ’s crib from Bethlehem was organised by Sydney’s Knights of the Immaculata, a lay men’s group dedicated to the consecration of Mary.
They came together with the archdiocese’s Maximus Men’s Ministry network and were supported by Fr Anthony Robbie and Fr Suresh Kumar.
“Christmas is usually enjoyed in the warmth of our homes, but the walk brings Christ out into the open,” said Knights member Jean-Claude Attieh.
“You could hear the voices from those on the balconies of their high-rise apartment buildings singing with us ‘O Holy Night.’
“Some jumped in and joined us, singing, waving, and smiling.
“When we walk together and spread this joy, it reminds us of the real meaning behind Christmas—perfect and utter humility becoming flesh.”
The procession was a beautiful display of popular piety, bringing together people of faith in solemn adoration for Christ.
Bishop Richard Umbers has described processions as an indispensable element of our Catholic tradition and identity.
“They symbolise our walking together towards the promised land, a ‘mini pilgrimage’ towards God, with God, but also with one another,” he wrote in The Catholic Weekly last year.
Organisers plan to make this year’s procession the biggest yet.