The seminary community celebrated its patronal feast day of Corpus Christi, with a Eucharistic procession through the streets of Carlton. Fourth-year Melbourne seminarian, Samuel Pearson, reflects on the experience.
Staff and students were joined in the Eucharistic procession by priests of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, the Knights of the Southern Cross, the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, religious and hundreds of lay faithful.
Beginning at 3pm, Rector of the seminary, Rev. Denis Stanley celebrated Solemn Mass, with Fr Jake Mudge preaching a sterling homily. Fr Jake, who oversees our pastoral engagements, connected the readings of the day with the Church’s ancient tradition of adoration of the Eucharist, in communion with each other.
“In Christ...we celebrate God’s immense, unconditional love – God’s deep desire to be with us in the most personal way possible.”
But our worship of God, has an evangelical dimension he said: “We are invited to bring Jesus to others: the one who bears the good news of hope, joy, and freedom. This is, in fact, the call for each one of us as we gather today as the Church – as the Body of Christ – the call to be bearers of Jesus to others.”
“At the end of Mass today we take part in a tradition which has formal beginnings in the thirteenth century – the practice of a Eucharistic Procession. In this, we give a public witness to the reverence we have for the Blessed Sacrament.”
The seminary scholar was in fine form, combining hymnody, chant, psalmody and polyphony under the direction of scholar master Olek Stirrat (4th Year) with Vice Rector Rev. Dr Cameron Forbes on organ, assisted by Fr Nicholas Dillon. The schola was also joined by recently ordained priest Fr. Marcus Goulding, who returned to assist the schola’s newest members learn some of the more difficult chants.
Filled to capacity, the altar adorned in candelabra and the sanctuary festooned with flowers, beautifully arranged by Joseph Aung (4th Year), old Sacred Heart was a sight to behold.
The Corpus Christi procession followed the mass, with various hymns sung as hundreds solemnly processed down Rathdowne, Grattan and Lygon Streets, before returning along Pelham Street to Sacred Heart Church for Benediction.
Residents watched from the balcony’s of their apartments, while others were stopped in their tracks, phones held aloft, taking in what must have been for them a rather strange sight. Some others reverently knelt on the pavement or made the sign of the cross, while a couple stopped to chat and ask about what was going on.
The soulful voices of the Samoan Choir of St Anthony’s parish Melton South, led the singing in the procession. Blending harmoniously, their voices carried over the low hum of traffic, garnering many admiring looks (and photo’s!).
The Mass and procession was the culmination of a weekend of celebrations including 24 hours of perpetual adoration, visitations to retired priests, residents at Corpus Christi Aged Care in Clayton, the site of our former college and mass for the deceased alumni of the college.
The weekend of celebrations concluded later that night with priests from Victoria’s four diocese joining seminarians for solemn evening prayer, led by Bishop of Sandhurst, Les Tomlinson. This was followed by the annual clergy dinner, with priests and seminarians kicking back with a glass (or two!) over a delicious roast and seafood spread, prepared by Mr Jeff Blew, college chef.
A slideshow presentation of photographs is below. Pictures: Jude Ezeme.