It was the feast of Christ the King, and so as Mass ended, Father Christopher placed the Blessed Sacrament in a golden monstrance on the candlelit altar, and then, walking solemnly beneath a canopy held by four parishioners, he carried it aloft and led us out
into the streets.
We walked in a great procession behind him, singing hymns to Christ the King and reciting a litany. Altar servers with incense and candles. Parents with small children. Stalwart parishioners, and newcomers.
Leading the procession was a great Papal flag, waving in the winter breeze.
Hurrying along on the outskirts was the writer of this Blog, who had been given a specific job: leaflets to hand out to passers-by. Bearing a picture of the glittering monstrance and the question “What’s going on?” the leaflets simply stated that we were from Precious Blood Church, honouring the Saviour, Jesus Christ, and invited people to join us.
Catholic processions have been taking place in this corner of London for centuries. The first London Bridge was built by the Romans. Henry V’s soldiers stopped in the Borough Street to sing a Te Deum after marching back from the Battle of Agincourt. Catholic martyrs were imprisoned in the nearby Clink prison. Pope John Paul visited the nearby St George’;s Cathedral where a stained glass commemorates the event.
The Church of the Most Precious Blood is in the care of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham – Anglicans who have come into full communion with the Catholic Church under the scheme initiated by Pope Benedict XVI. Street processions mark major feasts in the Church’s year and are part of the ongoing evangelistic efforts of the parish community. Mass attendance is steadily rising, and a current problem is a lack of sufficient space for the growing numbers of Sunday School children.