September 16, 2022

Eucharistic procession brings St. Mary students ‘together in our faith’

Transitional Deacon Jack Wright, right, an archdiocesan seminarian, blesses the room of new seminarian Quinton Thomas of the Diocese of Little Rock, Ark., on Aug. 19 at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad. (Photo courtesy of Saint Meinrad Archabbey)

Transitional Deacon Jack Wright, right, an archdiocesan seminarian, blesses the room of new seminarian Quinton Thomas of the Diocese of Little Rock, Ark., on Aug. 19 at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad. (Photo courtesy of Saint Meinrad Archabbey)

By Jennifer Lindberg (Special to The Criterion)

NORTH VERNON—Principal Lisa Vogel’s heart was overflowing with gratitude on Sept. 7 as she watched students of St. Mary School in North Vernon celebrate Christ in the Eucharist in a public witness of their faith.

Students made banners to carry in a special eucharistic procession to kick off support for the three-year National Eucharistic Revival, which started in June and will culminate in a National Eucharistic Congress on July 21-24, 2024, in Indianapolis, drawing tens of thousands of Catholics from across the country.

The students also participated in an in-school retreat to learn more about the Catholic belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, a session on lectio divina as a source of prayer and various craft activities to illustrate the Eucharist.

“It brought us all closer to God and helped me love him more,” said Nathan Fewell, an eighth-grader at the school.

Father Jerry Byrd, pastor of St. Mary Parish in North Vernon and St. Ann and St. Joseph parishes, both in Jennings County, led the students in the eucharistic procession that stopped at three altars on the St. Mary school and parish grounds. 

The procession made a strong impact on the students’ faith.

“It was beautiful and it was so peaceful and our singing was so joyful. It just made our school happy and light up,” said eighth-grader Khylee Barlow.

Another eight-grade student agreed.

“The eucharistic procession was an awesome experience,” said Arcadia Gindhart. “The reason for doing this is absolutely amazing. We were brought together to push through with our beliefs that the consecrated host is truly the body of Christ. This was a new experience, and I’m glad I got to be a part of it. I think it brought us together in our faith.”

Bringing the school closer to God and witnessing the students’ faith touched Vogel’s faith. 

“It’s important for me that the students know about the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist,” the school’s principal said. “I am just so proud of them, their participation and their willingness to learn.”
 

(Jennifer Lindberg is a member of St. Mary Parish in North Vernon.)

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