Taking to the streets with the King of kings

By Wendy Shaw

West Tamar Catholic parishioners stepped out in a strong show of public faith for the annual Eucharistic procession on the feast of Christ the King.

On a windy evening, with fluttering banners, prams and walking sticks, the faithful of all ages processed steadily around the block from St Francis Church at Riverside.

West Tamar Parish administrator Fr Martin Aye Ngwe explained the importance of the Eucharistic procession and benediction, which took place on 21 November.

“We celebrate our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe and I want my parish under the guidance and protection of the King of kings, Jesus Christ,” Fr Martin said.

“I believe in Jesus, our Lord, our king, and I want this parish under the guidance, protection and rule of the king. That is why I do the procession – to be under His care.

“The people [of the parish] are involved. They have strong faith and they want to show that faith with action. ‘Faith without action is dead’ and … our procession is one of our actions, our activities, to show our faith.”

 Among those who took part were parishioners Patrick Fleming, of Launceston, and Ellen Cooper, of Riverside.

Mr Fleming recalled the religious parades of his childhood in Hamilton, New Zealand.

“I had not seen them for 50 years [but it] is a great thing to do,” he said.

“It is a challenge to move from inside a building to publicly declare our faith outside, and in more practical terms it is a challenge with the weather too. Our faith is challenged in an embodied way.”

Mr Fleming praised Fr Martin for reintroducing the processions which he described as a welcome opportunity for parishioners to publicly display their faith.

Mrs Cooper said she looked forward to the parades and saw them as a beautiful opportunity to “advertise” the Catholic faith.

“People get inspiration by taking the Lord out from the tabernacle,” Mrs Cooper said.

“People think, ‘Why are they doing this?’ and they investigate. It makes them more aware of why we have faith. We do it for Jesus, because He is the most important part.

“It is very important to show we have faith. It makes people sit up and take notice. Even the wallabies came out to see what was going on.”

About 40 people joined Fr Martin and Scottsdale Parish administrator Fr Edwin Thundathil Xavier for the event. West Tamar Parish also has a procession on Corpus Christi Sunday.

Tags: News, Northern Deanery, West Tamar