The University of New South Wales witnessed the first Eucharistic procession in a decade at the Kensington campus on 2 October. The procession, an initiative of the University of New South Wales Catholic Society, was led by the university chaplain, Fr Gustavo Criollo, in the company of the Fraternas sisters, young seminarians, and a gathering of about fifty students.
Jason Irawan, 24, student and usher in the procession, spoke to The Catholic Weekly on the importance of showing a Catholic presence at UNSW.
“Religion has a place in daily life so why not at a university, where many Catholics go every day?”
“This procession is about spreading the good news of Jesus and his love for all,” he said.
The events of the day began with mass at the Catholic Society tent in the central court which followed into the procession of the Blessed Sacrament with bells, incense, prayers and vestment.
The Eucharist, held aloft in monstrance and under canopy, was front and centre amongst the bustle of the campus.
The majority of by-standing students, from a diverse array of backgrounds, commented on the importance of a variety of personal beliefs and expression of religions to be welcome at a university campus – inlcuding the Catholic faith.
However, a few bystanders were not warm to the presence of a Eucharistic procession on campus – especially it being such an unfamiliar sight. Mr Irawan nevertheless ushered campus students -and occasionally cyclists and vehicles -with grace and calm.
“It’s good to hear opposition – as long as they are honest. The most important thing is that there is mutual understanding and respect.” he said.
“Tolerance applies to people- not ideas. So even though there may be worldviews that disagree it is still important to be respectful of people that differ.”