The Zenit news agency carries the pice below about the re-establishment of the Marian procession in Manchester. The Catholic News Agency carries the report in the video above.
Congratulations as well to the Catholic police men and women who volunteered their time to marshal the procession - surely a an active lay involvement that really is in the spirit of what Vatican II meant by active participation - the laity helping to evangelise the world (rather than taking over the priest's duties on the sanctuary).
Sadly, I've not had as much success here in my little parish with getting people out for Marian processions which has been a great disappointment to me as in my previous parish we would fill the church with 500 people for the crowning of the statue after the procession. Perhaps I need to be bolder and trust that Our Lady will see it through.
Marian Procession Unites Faithful in Manchester.
Participants Welcome Chance to Show Pride in Their Faith
The Marian Community of Reconciliation and the Christian Life Movement have brought a traditional Marian pilgrimage back to the streets of Manchester.
Last Sunday's event brought some 1,000 people to the predominantly Muslim neighborhood of Rusholme for a procession with Our Lady of Reconciliation.
"It's been fantastic," reported one participant, Damian O'Reilly of Greater Manchester Police. "I remember the old days and it's nice to get something going again and show that we're proud of our faith.
"This is just going to get bigger and bigger. This year we've had 1,000 participants, but next year we'll have 5,000."
Local school children, teachers, parishioners of different ethnicities and eight priests came together to pray the rosary and sing songs.
Joseph Martin McDonagh, one of the volunteers who helped carry the platform, decided to go barefoot.
"Today has been the most fulfilling day of my life," he said. "I regret the way I used to live and I'm so happy I was allowed to do this."
"I wish I was still carrying her now," said the 37-year-old. "I've always had a soft spot for Mary. My mother had problems when she was pregnant with me and promised Our Lady to entrust me to her if I was born safe."
Evangelizing through Mary
Mary Patricia Fehily, 75, from Hale, is one of the many who remembered her childhood years.
"I had tears in my eyes when they lifted Our Lady and it all began," she said. "I was walking in the love of Jesus and Mary.
"It brings back so many memories of my youth because in Ireland we used to process three times a year. Hopefully this will make people think of our Creator."
Bagpipes were played during the walk and 12 drummers from India performed in traditional Kerala dress in the park.
"In India we have many more processions and Hindus and Christians celebrate them in a similar style. Our processions last many hours and we play our drums during a very long time," said Binson Konickal Baby. "There are approximately 2,000 Catholic families from Kerala in Greater Manchester. This is one way of integrating in the European community and we feel very welcomed."
The superior of the Marian Community of Reconciliation, Andrea Velarde, said it surpassed all their expectations.
"We realized that the best way to evangelize in this country is through Mary so that's what has happened," she said. "It was very moving to see people's piety. The volunteers didn't even want to stop carrying her to switch turns as they were supposed to."