by Gaby Bedetti
60 days after Easter, Christ the King Cathedral
celebrated a nearly 800-year-old tradition–
the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
A half-mile procession wound around the church grounds,
a public witness of veneration of the Blessed Eucharist
displayed in a monstrance carried by the bishop.
No little girls cast flowers, no passerby genuflected
as the procession passed, though a few police cars
did block the intersections. Roofers working
along Cochran continued hammering
while pockets of people sang “Sing, My Tongue, the Savior’s Glory.”
The procession moved at a slow and not always reverent pace.
Some checked iPhones, others chatted. A deacon peeled off
and skipped the return to the cathedral,
the bishop’s benediction.
In the 13th century, when the faith of the world was growing cold,
a 16-year-old Belgian nun, Juliana, had visions of the moon
crossed by a dark stripe. She came to understand
that the moon symbolized the Church on earth,
the opaque line represented the absence of a feast in honor of Christ.
After Juliana shared her vision, her bishop
established the feast in 1246
and Pope Urban extended it to the entire Church in 1264.
And so we still move together following the monstrance,
most of us not singing, but all of us walking, sweating
a bit in our good clothes, the procession ancient and sunlit.
Gaby Bedetti likes to hike, take photos, plant trees, and sing. Born in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, she received her PhD in comparative literature from the University of Iowa. A long-time professor at Eastern Kentucky University, she co-teaches Page-to-Stage: Imagining the Military Experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. To her readers, she would like to sing, “Happy trails to you, until we meet again. Happy trails to you, keep smilin’ until then. . . .” Her poem “Singing in the Pool” is forthcoming in The Voices Project.