About 200 Catholics in Meade and Hardin Counties took part in a Corpus Christi procession June 2 on the grounds of St. Martin of Tours Church in Flaherty, Ky.
The procession is a tradition in central Kentucky that began in 1952. Archbishop John A. Floersch was the celebrant in the first procession, which is preceded by Mass and eucharistic adoration, and about 1,500 people attended, according to Father Dennis Cousens who compiled a brief history of the procession.
Father Cousens, pastor of St. Christopher Church in Radcliff, Ky., was the celebrant at this year’s procession.
His history notes that Father John Clansey, former pastor of St. Martin from 1967 to 1980, promoted the procession and attendance grew to about 3,000 under his leadership. During those years, Father Cousens said, 30 to 40 Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus attended and formed the guard of honor to Christ.
“Unfortunately, attendance at this procession has dwindled to far fewer in recent years,” Father Cousens said. “The past few years have witnessed a slight increase, with about 200 people in attendance this year.”
Among this year’s participants, he said, were seven members of the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus and four members of the newly formed Knights on Bikes (a motorcycle group).
Deacons and priests from several area parishes also took part, he said.
Each year, the procession begins in the church and passes through the parish cemetery to an outdoor altar.
The Corpus Christi liturgy and procession this year overlapped with the first ever worldwide Holy Hour that Pope Francis led at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City that day. The faithful in attendance focused their prayers on the same intentions as the pope, said Father Cousens.