By Katrina Genereux/Associate Editor, OND
East Grand Forks – On the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, June 28, Sacred Heart, East Grand Forks, held a Eucharistic procession to honor their parish feast day and as part of a series of celebrations for their 125th Jubilee Year.
Before the procession, approximately 130 people gathered for Mass at Sacred Heart. Father Matt Schmitz, Parochial Vicar of Sacred Heart; St. Francis of Assisi, Fisher; and Holy Trinity, Tabor; concelebrated Mass with Bishop Emeritus Victor H. Balke and Father Maschio Mascarenghas, Parochial Vicar for the three parishes.
“Today as we celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart, we let the Eucharist lead us. Today the sheep follow the lead of the Good Shepherd. We follow where he leads even if it is not where we want to go,” Father Schmitz said during the homily.
He said following Christ in the Eucharist across streets, sidewalks and railroad tracks would help draw others to his Sacred Heart.
“Today you bear witness to the power of his heart in your life. Your footsteps on this pilgrimage today proclaim to the world and to the city of East Grand Forks ‘I am willing to follow,’” Father Schmitz said. “His body, his flesh is given to us to nourish us for the journey ahead. His blood poured forth from his Sacred Heart will soon flow once again through our veins just as we will soon flow into the streets of this city.”
After Mass, the two-mile procession began. Participants sang hymns and prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet while walking. The group stopped at Memorial Park along 4th Street NW. There they prayed an Act of Reparation and sang the Litany of the Holy Eucharist. A second stop was made outside Sacred Heart School next to a carved depiction of Jesus revealing his Sacred Heart. The Consecration Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Jubilee Year Prayer were said and the Litany of the Sacred Heart was sung. The procession closed with Benediction in the church.
This was Father Schmitz’s first time leading a Eucharistic procession. He was inspired by the number of parishioners who attended.
“To me, their faith was very evident in that and their love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus,” he said.
Father Schmitz said his parishioners have a strong connection and appreciation for the history of the parish and generations of family and pastors that have come before them.
“There is a great respect for them and an honoring of their memory. People really pour their hearts and souls into community here, so I think our Jubilee Year is a time for us to pause and give gratitude for those who have come before us and built up what we have now. It’s also our call to carry that forward into the future for those who come after us,” he said.
Tina Johnson teaches fourth grade at Sacred Heart School and attended the Mass and procession with her three children ages 4, 7 and 9. It was important for her to have them participate so they would know faith is part of their whole life.
“It has been good to have the different Jubilee events for people to participate in and become more fully active in the parish,” Johnson said.
Pete Zavoral, a parishioner of Sacred Heart and member of the Knights of Columbus helped organize the Jubilee Year events including the procession, one of four major events held to celebrate the Jubilee Year.
“We were looking forward to this event. We decided the last few years on the Sacred Heart of Jesus, our feast day, we would walk from Fisher to the Cathedral [in Crookston], so we thought we would incorporate that kind of walk but do it in town, so we could show the town what’s going on,” said Zavoral.
Brian Breidenbach, a parishioner of Sacred Heart and Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus, was thankful for the nice weather during the procession. He and Knights from Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s, Grand Forks, led the procession and supported the canopy over the Blessed Sacrament.
He said the trek aggravated his back, but it was worth it.
“I feel kind of bad even complaining about any of that given what Jesus suffered for us, so I offered it up,” Breidenbach said.
He was glad that the Jubilee Song composed by Daniel Ewens, the parish Coordinator of Liturgy and Music, and the Jubilee Year prayer were featured during the Mass and procession.
“I feel very lucky to be a member of Sacred Heart and the history of it and to celebrate that during the Jubilee Year here,” Breidenbach said.
Other Jubilee events included hosting a speaker from Dynamic Catholic and a Called and Gifted Workshop. The year of celebration will close with Mass on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary at 5:30 p.m., August 15.