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Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Catholics march to one joyous beat

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Photos: Alphonsus Fok and Giovanni Portelli.

A chorus of common joy arose from the more than 15,000-strong army of Catholics who marched through the city last Sunday for the annual Walk with Christ procession. 

Many young Catholics like 16-year-old Chris Pereira from Frenchs Forest, were experiencing Australia’s biggest Catholic procession for the first time.  

“I’ve never seen so many people. I haven’t experienced anything like this before. Just how silent the city was. And we’re all just walking together, that sense of community is something I’ll never forget,” he said. 

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He was one of the many thousands of young Sydney Catholics proudly professing their faith.  

“It’s unbelievable! And I’m just so happy to be one of the young people honouring and celebrating Christ in this wonderful city,” said 14-year-old Dima Shamonka from St Thomas Chaldean church in Bossley Park.  

“Thousands and thousands of people. It was packed. People looking forward and people looking back, as far as the eye could see. It was just, it was phenomenal. It was wonderful to see [everyone] processing around the Eucharist, processing the body, the blood, divinity and soul of Jesus. And yeah, it was it was absolutely incredible,” said 20-year-old, Roch Dargan from Toongabbie. 

Walk with Christ procession - The Catholic Weekly

“It’s vivid, it’s big. I think it really shows the strength of Catholic people around. You don’t see it a lot. So having this public witness was really beautiful,” said 20-year-old Janina. Her best friend, Faustina called the day “a beautiful witness to the faith.” 

“It’s great to be here. We really love Eucharistic processions giving witness in public. It’s really great. Sydney needs more of this. It’s done so well. I love it. This is reaffirming to know, we are not alone,” said 19-year-old Sebastian Poh, holding aloft a Campion Catholic College banner. 

His mate Joshua said it gave him hope that the church was thriving.  

“The church has been growing. The archdiocese itself this year has had the most conversions ever. The church is just getting bigger and bigger. It’s really good.” 

Many in the crowd were amazed that on a weekend deluged with relentless rain, this glorious afternoon remained dry.  

But for aspiring Deacon, Justin Fehrmann, this act of divine intervention was to be expected. 

“I think very much like The Lady of Fatima Procession, God’s Providence has once again prevailed, as he does all the time. As believers, we can’t sit back and think that God isn’t going to work when he wants to have his name proclaimed to the streets.” 

Fr James McCarthy from St Aloysius in Cronulla had come prepared for the rain, but not for the amazing array of cultural diversity on display. 

Walk with Christ procession - The Catholic Weekly

“So many different ethnic groups! I saw more so than I’ve seen [in] the past. Such a mixture of all sorts of backgrounds here today. And it’s a real joyful occasion.” 

“The church is alive and she’s bringing more people in than ever before,” said Maxwell Taplin, a young convert to the church who was baptised this year at the Paschal Eucharist Mass two months ago.  

His mate, Lachlan James from Sutherland thought the procession was a powerful tool for evangelisation. “People, other people just looking at us and going and just questioning it, like, what’s going on here? Like, there must be something up with it. They’re thinking there’s something special here. So that’s what I saw today.” 

Michael and Catherine Jaksic from Guildford brought their ten-month-old baby daughter, Alma for her first Walk with Christ. 

“She did pretty well. She was in deep contemplation at one stage on her mama’s bosom with her eyes closed. So, you know, she did quite well,” said proud dad, Michael. 

But he was even prouder of his wider Catholic family. 

“I’m speechless. So much love. You might be surrounded by strangers, but you’re all part of the same community,” he said. 

“It’s incredible,” said Catherine. “To be surrounded by all the different parishes, all the different communities. It’s quite a beautiful thing, you know, to come together and it doesn’t happen very often. So, yeah, it’s special. It’s very special.” 

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