Let the Fruits Grow That Have Been Planted in Fertile Soil.

With this bulletin front, I wish to give a recap of the events of Monday and Tuesday as we hosted the first stop in the Diocese of Jefferson City of the National Eucharistic Procession. Monday was the feast of Junipero Serra, namesake of the Western Route of the procession, so we were not only the first parish in the diocese to welcome the National Eucharistic Procession, but we were blessed to welcome and host them on the namesake feast day!! And, what a beautiful (temperature and climate) day St. Juniper’s feast day was for the first of July in Missouri! Thanks to so many doing so much preparation work, when the chancery officials called and said the perpetual pilgrims got rained out and so they will be coming to Sedalia three and a half hours earlier than expected, we were ready. Carol was able to take the ladies over to Saint Patrick and run some errands for them since they had the luxury of time to do some laundry. The men hung out in the Sacred Heart rectory and parish center west. Because we didn’t know when adorers from around the diocese would start arriving, we decided to offer prayers every hour on the hour at the parish center. All of them were well received and attended. Fr Berhorst led the minor office of Day-time Prayer; Deacon Arvol led the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary; I read reflections from five early church fathers on the real presence of the Eucharist; Sophie, Logan and Anthony led us in the sung divine mercy chaplet at the 3pm hour; Deacon Jerry led the Stations of the Cross and because the Lord gave us such a mild day, the attendees were able to walk the stations in the chapel.  Deacon Turf prayed the Litany of the Eucharist and read a section of John Chapter 6. While these prayers were happening, many college age young people who are helping with the five days across our diocese descended on our Sacred Heart parking lot. All of our seminarians, a few priests and many others soon followed. Jen said it looked like church camp as she looked out the door—and around her office – and everywhere on the business level of the rectory. This was not the only place filled with activity. Many had arrived before 4pm to make sure all last minute details of food arrival and McGremlin Gym were ready for the evening meal. Greeters were in place well before 5pm. To say there was a buzz of activity and energy on this part of the parish campus is an understatement. At 5:45, the crowd around and inside the gym was big enough to give a short welcome and let them know prayer and dinner would begin at 6pm. I walked around to the food stations to make sure they were ready and as my cell phone clicked 6pm, I began with a welcome, a prayer and did a walk around to the food stations to explain how food lines would work. Then, I said, so go to whichever food line you like then come back to a different food line for seconds. The gym was set up for 260 and by the time everyone was served, some were sitting in the bleachers with their food.  We believe more than 300 attended dinner. Cheryl, Carol, Mary, Tina and Connie are masters at setting up food lines and getting a large dinner to happen. Great job, team and all who assisted! We had everyone through the lines and finished eating in about 45 minutes. Many commented on how awesome it was to see everyone mingling and speaking to others from other parts of the diocese and even other parts of the country. Many also commented on how well represented our parish was at the great hospitality St. Vincent de Paul showed to everyone. 

The catechetical program followed. The English Speaking perpetual pilgrim said he realized there would be much activity in the big towns but wasn’t sure why they had to make a stop at a town of 72 people (just this past week.) But, he was blown away by the hospitality, faith and party the parish was able to throw. He had intellectualized Christ’ real presence in the Eucharist but this helped his heart grow in knowing Jesus really does come for all of us, not just the densely populated places. Fr Joseph (in English) and Fr Greiven (in Spanish) spoke about Jesus taking what we offer him and transforms it; we give him the bread and wine and he transforms it into himself so we can give him away to others. Fr Joseph really wanted to make sure we sang Amen with full gusto, anything short of it meant we sang again! After the priest talks, we heard from our own parishioners talk about what the Eucharist meant to them: In Spanish, Jose and Ilsi Palacios and in English, Annette Owens and Bob Simon. Then, it was time for the Eucharistic Procession. Seminarian servers in cassocks and surplices, candles (tikki torches), crucifix, bells, incense, 8 priests, 2 deacons, canopy with the Blessed sacrament in the monstrance carried by Fr Berhorst, first communicants, musicians and singers, and then the rest of the faithful (a total of 283 processed into St. Patrick.)  It was fun to see the fascination and energy of the small children watching the two drones flying overhead capturing all of it in video.  Allyson said she had felt an intimate connection with Jesus like never before as she walked with him as she helped carry the canopy. Shortly after we arrived at St. Patrick, nine priests were introduced and showed to their stations so the full church could receive the sacrament of reconciliation. Priests finished hearing confessions about 90 minutes after we started. And, St Vincent de Paul showed up! We were hoping for 2 and really wanting 4 adorers to sign up per hour through the night from 9pm until 6pm. Every hour exceeded our hopes!

Fr Berhorst, many of the travelers, perpetual pilgrims, seminarians and parishioners were at St. Patrick before 6am getting ready for the 6:30am Mass. The rosary was led by Shari, praying the sorrowful mysteries. We had beautiful music led by Ben, Margie and others. Deacon Jerry and our transitional Deacon, Deacon Clever served as deacons; several priests and all of our diocesan seminarians were in the sanctuary. After Mass, we processed out for the Grand Procession that would take us down to Ohio Street by Ozark Coffee. One could listen to the bells and the hymns of praise, smell the incense and be in prayer as we witnessed our faith to Sedalia. For the third time in a month, JoAnn kept pace for us and many good people directed traffic, set up barriers and removed the barriers as we finished crossing intersections. Jen remarked many times, often with awe, how blessed and special this moment was for our diocese and our parish, that something that is once in a lifetime that is affecting the whole United States, North, South, East and West and we were just a small part of it, but we are a part of it; we were a stop on this massive outpouring of graces. What a gift! And, she went above and beyond to promote on Facebook and in bulletins for us. Kent and Liz were amazed at how St. Vincent de Paul showed up: young, families with children of all ages; the old, the Anglos, the Hispanics, all three chapels; we were represented in all ways. They were also struck by the number of people from distances came and spent time with us. Over a dozen from St. Patrick in Laurie came with their pastor, Fr John Schmitz for the 6:30am Mass and Grand Procession. One family asked if they could park their RV on Saint Patrick parking lot overnight since they had been following the perpetual pilgrims for the second half of the route. They weren’t the only big vehicle on the lot for part of the night;  Jose Maria and Webster used the mini-buses to shuttle people back to Sacred Heart parking lot until late into the night.  Finally, the Grand Procession arrived at Sacred Heart greeted once again by David and Jody in cassock and surplice. We knelt down and sung Tantum Ergo. Those who were present, have you ever heard such full loud beautiful singing? We had caught the Spirit Jesus was pouring out! Deacon Jerry said he was brought back to his childhood and it was a great experience to be part of all of this.  Benediction followed, then the Divine Praises and Exposition. Once again, the church was full.    Once the Blessed Sacrament was reposed, everyone went to coffee and doughnuts while the pilgrims left for their destination of Pilot Gove. They were supposed to arrive at 8:45am. They arrived at 8:43am!  I invite those who had a hand in any of this including participating in any part of it to send us an e-mail or Facebook message of your thoughts and reflections on what you experienced. Those of us who spent time the past 9 months planning would love to hear your reflections and experiences. Now, to cooperate and see what the Lord has in store for us.      

Click HERE to see the full photo album for the NEP events on July 1.

Click HERE to see the full photo album, including some videos, for the NEP events on July 2.