Yesterday, following the 9:30 Mass at my parish, Saint James here in Chicago, we had a eucharistic procession through the streets of the neighborhood. It was a beautiful day.
The bells in the church tower rang out the entire time. Here is a photo of our closed church. The tower contains about two octaves of enormous bells, which can be played from a small keyboard inside the church. I know that our community will probably never be able to return to worship inside this building, but I am hoping that there is a way to save the bells. My beloved Saint James:
As the bells chimed from the tower, many of us carried handbells, randomly ringing them through the streets of the near South Side.
I had a sense of peace as we moved through the streets. There was a rhythm to the walking, and the occasional handbell chimes and the peal of the bells in the tower seemed to sanctify the air, as did the incense; you can see the thurible in this photo:
The Chicago police helped us throughout the procession. They did their work with dignity and respect.
At the halfway point, we all paused and sang Alan Hommerding's fine text, a setting of the Sequence for Corpus Christi, Praise, O Zion, Voices Raising.
I am looking forward already to next year's Corpus Christi procession.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.