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Jesus 'walks' through Little Havana

Hundreds join eucharistic procession along Flagler Street on feast of Christ the King

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MIAMI | Clergymen, carrying the Eucharist under a red canopy, led a police-escorted procession of hundreds of worshippers along Flagler Street in downtown Miami on Saturday evening, Nov. 25, 2023 – vigil of the feast of Christ the King.

“We want to show the public that Jesus Christ is alive here in the heart of Miami,” said Father Elvis Gonzalez, pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Church, where the procession began. “This is the first time we have done this at our church. It is part of the National Eucharistic Revival.”

The two-mile, 90-minute walk ended at St. John Bosco Church where worshippers, many kneeling, prayed before the Eucharist, placed on an altar in the church parking lot. The event started with Mass at St. Michael Church.

“The two churches are close enough for us to do this walk,” said Father Gonzalez of the procession through Little Havana.

Father Elvis Gonzalez, St. Michael the Archangel's pastor, leads the procession with the Blessed Sacrament as hundreds accompany him along Flagler Street, from St. Michael Church to St. John Bosco Church,  Nov. 25, 2023. The procession coincided with the feast of Christ the King.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

Father Elvis Gonzalez, St. Michael the Archangel's pastor, leads the procession with the Blessed Sacrament as hundreds accompany him along Flagler Street, from St. Michael Church to St. John Bosco Church, Nov. 25, 2023. The procession coincided with the feast of Christ the King.

Before leaving the church where he celebrated the Mass, Father Gonzalez asked participants to be humble.

“You come with many intentions,” he said. “This is a beautiful, powerful testimony. We walk with Jesus Christ in our midst. We do so in prayer.”

As priests, deacons, altar servers and members of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary led the way, worshippers sang hymns in Spanish in honor of the Blessed Sacrament. The hymns included, “Cantemos al Amor de los Amores,” (Let Us Sing to the Love of Loves), “Tu Reinarás” (You Reign), and “Soul of Christ” (Alma de Cristo). At times, they shouted, “Viva, Cristo Rey” (Long live Christ the King).

Marvin Mejia prays during the Mass at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Miami that was celebrated before the eucharistic procession, Nov. 25, 2023. Hundreds walked along Flagler Street, from St. Michael to St. John Bosco Church, singing hymns and accompanying the Blessed Sacrament.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

Marvin Mejia prays during the Mass at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Miami that was celebrated before the eucharistic procession, Nov. 25, 2023. Hundreds walked along Flagler Street, from St. Michael to St. John Bosco Church, singing hymns and accompanying the Blessed Sacrament.

Many people heard about the procession and came from distant parishes.

“I think it’s important that people know that God is here with them, so I came to walk with Jesus Christ,” said Patricia Rosales, from Annunciation Church in West Park.

Medalit Vilchez came from St. Matthew Church in Hallandale Beach. She is a religious education teacher at St. Matthew and St. Mary Magdalen in Sunny Isles Beach, as well as a member of the Legion of Mary. She said she went to Israel in June, where she visited Bethlehem and stepped in the Jordan River. She talked about her trip to Israel as she rode back to St. Michael on one of several school buses provided to take procession participants back to where they started.

“I could feel the power of Jesus in the river,” she said. “I’m a believer. We want to let people know that we are all the temple of God. This is amazing. We should do this more often.”

The National Eucharistic Revival is a three-year program aimed at focusing Catholics on the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. A key goal of the revival is to renew the Catholic Church in the U.S. by enkindling in the faithful a living relationship with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.

The revival started in June 2022. Its highlight will be a National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis, Indiana, in July 2024 – the first such congress in 83 years.

The revival’s first year focused on events at the diocesan level while this second year focuses on events and formation at the parish level.

A National Eucharistic Pilgrimage will start May 17, 2024, and end July 21, 2024, in Indianapolis. Four routes will cross the United States and end at the conference: Marian (North), Seton (East), Juan Diego (South) and Serra (West), according to the Eucharistic Revival website, eucharisticrevival.org.

In response to the revival, Eucharistic processions have taken place in various dioceses and parishes throughout the U.S.

Father Yader Centeno, administrator of St. John Bosco Church in Miami, holds up the Blessed Sacrament after it arrived at the Little Havana church, having been carried along Flagler Street from St. Michael the Archangel Church, Nov. 25, 2023.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

Father Yader Centeno, administrator of St. John Bosco Church in Miami, holds up the Blessed Sacrament after it arrived at the Little Havana church, having been carried along Flagler Street from St. Michael the Archangel Church, Nov. 25, 2023.