Hi everyone! I hope you're having a great weekend! This week I'm sharing some long-awaited photos with you that come with a fascinating and moving experience. As you may have seen on here before, I co-lead a local Catholic youth group called One Faith Youth Group which I am very passionate about. We are always trying to come up with new fun and inspirational event ideas to host, and for a long time one of my fellow leaders, Ethan, has wanted to plan and put on a time honored Catholic tradition: a Eucharistic Procession.
If you've never heard of a Eucharistic Procession, here's the gist of it. (And a warning for non-Catholics, it might seem a little old-fashioned, haha.) A Eucharistic Procession is a form of liturgical prayer, in which a priest and altar servers process through the streets, holding the Eucharistic in the monstrance, typically ending at a sacred location, like a church. You typically sing and recite hymns while processing. It's a very traditional practice, starting in about 379 AD, that is meant to be both a prayer mirroring Adoration (the practice of the Eucharist being exposed in the monstrance for specific times of prayer in the church) and a public display of Catholicism.
So, now that you understand the concept, Ethan had been wanting to do a procession for a while, and it finally worked out that we were able to host one in late June at a local church in Cresson, PA. Now, in a crazy twist of fate, the US Supreme Court overturned the Roe V. Wade ruling on June 24th, while our procession was planned for June 27th. Regardless of your opinion on the ruling, it sparked protests and riots across the country battling specifically against the Pro-Life Movement, which is widely supported by the Catholic Church. This national reaction left me feeling uneasy about our event. How would the public react to our public display of Catholicism? Would we be in danger? Would this display be misunderstood as a reaction or fight against the negative national political mood?
These questions worried me for the days between the SCOTUS decision and youth group event, but in the end, the leaders decided to proceed with our event as planned. I had my doubts, but it turned out to be a moving event. Honestly, I was excited to be the photographer for our event and see how I could capture this experience. I truly love researching photojournalism and following along with my favorite photographers and photojournalists, and for this event I took inspiration from Lyndsey Addario's and Steve McCurry's work. (Google them, they're super cool!)
This procession turned out to be truly moving, as we had a wonderful group of local passionate Catholics, both youth group members and adults from the community, processing behind the monstrance, and the picnic afterwards was so lovely. The procession didn't attract too much attention from the neighborhood we walked through, thankfully, but it definitely showed all of us the power of our faith when we unite and share faith with our community. I'm so glad I could capture it in this way, and I like to think these photos show how powerful anyone's faith can be when it's pursued passionately.
Feel free to check out these photos and explore this Catholic tradition!!