Eucharistic procession a first at SFU

By  Carine Lee, Catholic Register Special
  • October 23, 2008
{mosimage}BURNABY, B.C. - Students, faculty, staff and visitors to Simon Fraser University (SFU) braved the light rain on a chilly Oct. 16 morning to make history for the university and the archdiocese of Vancouver.

Marking the centennial of the archdiocese, Archbishop Raymond Roussin made his first visit to the Burnaby campus to lead the very first eucharistic procession from the interfaith centre to the hub of the campus in the Academic Quadrangle. Singing hymns throughout the procession, the elaborate entourage included a Knights of Columbus colour guard, several altar servers with incense and candles and more than 80 Catholics eager to give witness to the faith.
“It was great to bring Jesus out on campus for people to see,” said Elizabeth Stilwell, 19. “It was a great statement that Christ is and will be forever present on our campus.”

The procession was a good experience for students who have never participated in a eucharistic procession before, and a familiar experience for students who participated in the Eucharistic Congress in Quebec last June as well as World Youth Day in Sydney this year.

“I loved it. It is hard to put the experience into words,” said Carolyn Dostal, 20.

“God was definitely present. My heart was beating so fast... Complete sensational joy,’’ said Dostal. “I did not even feel cold.”

In full view of faculty offices and tutorial rooms, SFU’s Catholic chaplain, Fr. Fernando Mignone, led participants in adoration and prayers.

“I liked Fr. Fernando’s words of inspiration,” said Andrea Assumption, 20. “Our adoration today akin to the Seven Hills of Rome just wowed me.”

“The eucharistic procession was highly symbolic,” said Mignone. “Since our Lord is present physically in the Blessed Sacrament He blessed the whole campus, the lower mainland, the world of university studies, so that students can serve, not be served.”

Before the procession, Roussin celebrated Mass at the interfaith centre with seven other priests including SFU’s first chaplain, Fr. John Swinkels, 80, and Fr. Hien Nguyen, the vocations office director. To makes things even more special, the archdiocese welcomed a new member into the Catholic family with the Baptism of Antonio Daling, 30, an international student from Malaysia.

In his homily, Roussin urged all Catholics to renew their baptismal promises and “die to ourselves.”

“Open ourselves to Christ… it is what Baptism is all about,” said Roussin. “Once you give yourself to Christ, great things do happen.

“We are not alone in this, not only do we stand before the Creator in awe. We also realize the fountain of life that He has put into each and every one of us in Baptism.”

(Lee, 21, studies communications at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C.)

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.