Eucharistic Witness: College Joins Parishes To Take Our Lord to the Streets

Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, is helping lead a National Eucharistic Revival headed by alumnus Bishop Andrew Cozzens through its mission of: Community, by sponsoring the National Eucharistic Congress and serving as a stopping place on the national Eucharistic Procession; Faith, by perpetual Eucharistic adoration and prayer aids; and Scholarship teaching about the Real Presence with a national Symposium and providing important Eucharistic theological books to all students.

It was an awesome site, in the true sense of the word.

Student members of the Knights of Columbus from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, carried a canopy over the monstrance holding the Blessed Sacrament ahead of 850 pilgrims who prayed their way through the streets of the city on April 16. Scroll down to see video below.

“Fourth Street homeowners knelt on their front porches as a procession of clergy, altar servers, and parishioners passed by,” freshman Catherine Halbmaier wrote. “They knelt … for the eucharistic Lord.”

Halbmaier, a freshman Journalism and Mass Communication major from Irving, Texas, covered the event for The Leaven, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Kansas City-Kansas.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann led the procession after a Divine Mercy Mass at which he brought 10 members of the Benedictine College community into the fullness of the faith.

The event is part of the National Eucharistic Revival headed by Minnesota Bishop Andrew Cozzens, who is one of seven 21st-century bishops who graduated from Benedictine College.

The college is going all-out to support the Eucharistic revival with national high-profile events, including sponsoring the 2024 National Eucharistic Revival and holding the national Symposium on Transforming Culture last month, which focused on the theme “Proclaiming the Real Presence.”

The procession led from the western edge of the college’s campus to Atchison’s Veterans’ Memorial Park on the Missouri River. There, Archbishop Naumann addressed the crowd, made up of members of St. Benedict Parish in Atchison; Benedictine College faculty, staff and administration; and contingents from regional parishes.

“Realize the miracle in which we are engaged,” he said. “Many have come to our faith because of the Eucharist, because they saw that the Eucharist was the center.”

Father Jeremy Heppler, OSB, a Benedictine College alumnus and pastor of St. Benedict’s parish told Halbmaier that he planned the event with 13 parishes in the region, along with Benedictine College and the local Benedictine high school, Maur Hill-Mount Academy.

He said the event was meant to draw Catholics together and witness to the community.

“Our hope for the day is to unite Catholics from throughout the region and beyond to adore our eucharistic Lord,” he said. “By bringing him to the streets and eventually to the riverfront, we also want to provide an opportunity for others to have an encounter with Jesus.”

President Stephen D. Minnis and his wife, Amy, were part of the procession.

“Nothing is more important than the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist,” he said.

That’s the message Benedictine College wants to send with several high-profile efforts that he listed:

  • Benedictine is sponsoring the 10th ever National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis, the first in 83 years.
  • On the Feast of the Annunciation, the college held its 2023 Symposium for Transforming Culture on “Proclaiming the Real Presence,” featuring keynotes Elizabeth Lev and Fran Maier.
  • The college is producing a video series about the contribution of Eucharistic devotion to mental health and thriving.

“Devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is crucial to Benedictine College’s mission,” President Minnis said. “Since beginning Perpetual Adoration, we’ve seen two decades of enrollment growth and built five new chapels with tabernacles on campus.”

He said that the college has regularly held Eucharistic processions, but that these events are not the only place students see the college’s Eucharistic faith.

“You will find Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament everywhere on campus,” Minnis said. “We have built five new chapels, featuring tabernacles in our Residence Halls. The Abbey tower, which is the highest point on campus, is a marker showing the way to the tabernacle there, visible for miles.”

The procession showed the unity of the various schools and parishes that participated, many holding banners proclaiming their names.

“It’s beautiful,” Archbishop Naumann told Halbmaier. “It’s really for me very inspiring to see so many people from so many different parishes in the Atchison region come together.”

And she said he hinted at the possibility of more processions like this in the future.

“So many of them were saying, ‘We’d like to do this every year’,” said the Archbishop. “I told them, there’s no reason we can’t.”
Scroll down to see Procession Video Below.

Image: Leaven photo of Benedictine College student Knights
flanking Archbishop Naumann as he leads Eucharistic procession.

Benedictine College

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is honored to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, the best private college in Kansas by The Wall Street Journal, and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. Benedictine College is dedicated to transforming culture in America through its mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.