Walk With Christ will return to the streets of Sydney in November, months after light rail works forced the Eucharistic procession out of the CBD.
After reaching an agreement with the Transport Management Centre, event organisers have confirmed the procession will be held on 20 November.
The new date marks both the feast of Christ the King, and the day Pope Francis will conclude the Year of Mercy in Rome.
The procession is expected to be Sydney’s final event for the Year of Mercy.
“It is fitting, because there is a tradition in the Church of the two occasions you have public Eucharistic processions: one is the feast of Corpus Christi, the other is Christ the King,” says Cathy Kennedy, director of the Catholic Evangelisation and Renewal Office (CREDO), which organises the event.
The new date also brings a proposed new path for the procession, thanks to the “excellent support” of the Transport Management Centre.
A small group of bishops, priest and seminarians will escort the Blessed Sacrament from St Patrick’s, Church Hill, down Grosvenor and Bridge Streets to Pitt Street, where they will join the waiting crowd.
“The people will gather either side of Pitt Street so that Our Lord will go through the crowd and take up place at the front before we process on,” Ms Kennedy says.
After gathering on Pitt Street, between Hunter Street and Martin Place, the procession will proceed east on Martin Place, then south on Elizabeth Street, north on Phillip Street, south on Macquarie, then continue south on College Road to St Mary’s Cathedral.
“We will then gather in the forecourt for adoration, liturgy of the word, and a homily from one of our bishops,” Ms Kennedy says.
A member of each parish will then be invited to place on the steps of the cathedral Books of Life comprising petitions from parishioners.
During the procession participants are invited to pray for the needs of the city, with the route taking in landmarks including the Cenotaph, parts of the business district, State Parliament, and courts.
“The aim is to be a witness to our faith in Christ, present in the Eucharist, and also to pray for our city,” she says.
It is also fitting for the procession to make its way through Martin Place, the site of the Lindt Cafe siege in December 2014, she says.
“It will be special for us as Catholics to bring Christ through there and to pray for our city for all those who have been victims of violence.
“It’s been a difficult time for many, so it is nice to have people gathering for something so positive.”
The procession will be accompanied by volunteers to answer questions from the public and offer outreach in the form of prayer, rosary beads and other devotional items.
While many parishes opted to host local processions near the 26 May feast of Corpus Christi, the traditional date of the procession, Ms Kennedy says Catholics are also excited for the return of the CBD event.
“The feedback from people who held events in their parishes was very positive, so I think there is room for both,” she says.
“There is something that builds our faith together when we walk together.”
Visit credosydney.org for details.