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Cardinal George
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One of the last gifts left to the Church by the late Pope John Paul II was his proclamation of the present Year of the Eucharist. As we all accompanied the Holy Father through the final months of his earthly life, he invited us over and over again to join him in reflecting on the theme of the year. By doing so, he called us all to focus on what is truly the center of our lives – the Body and Blood of Christ – the sacrament which fuels our hope that our intimacy with Christ in the Blessed Sacrament now will come to fulfillment in the life to come.

With this in mind, I invite you to join me and Catholics from across the Archdiocese of Chicago in a major public celebration to honor the Most Blessed Sacrament during this Year of the Eucharist on the afternoon of Friday, August 5.

The Knights of Columbus are hosting a national Eucharistic Congress in downtown Chicago on August 4 th and 5 th. At its conclusion, at approximately 1 p.m. on Friday, August 5, the auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Chicago and I will join representatives of the Knights to carry the Blessed Sacrament in procession from the Chicago Hilton Hotel to Chicago’s Petrillo Music Shell (located in Grant Park at the intersection of Columbus Drive and Jackson Boulevard), where a service of adoration and Benediction will be celebrated.

Won’t you consider joining us at 1 p.m. at Buckingham Fountain for the Procession or at the Petrillo Band Shell for adoration and Benediction as a beautiful public testament of devotion to Our Lord?

Your parish bulletin will soon carry more information about the August 5 th Eucharistic Procession and about the Eucharistic Congress, and I urge you to continue to visit the archdiocesan website at www.archchicago.org for more details. This event will have its full spiritual impact if you or a member of your family are able to join us for it.

I know many of you remember fondly the Eucharistic celebration at Soldier Field during the Year 2000 Jubilee. That day, I remember saying something that I know is as true now as it was then:

In this sacrament [of the Eucharist], we who celebrate and receive also are changed and truly become Christ’s holy people. And in this sacrament, the city also is changed. In the course of our history, the Church has grown aware of the fact that celebration of this divine mystery cannot be reduced to an event within the walls of a church, and so we process into the streets of the world. We go forward with hymns and prayers, bearing the sacrament of the Body and Blood of the Lord. We go where the life of the human family is bubbling, where its passions are boiling, where its conflicts explode, where its sufferings are consumed and its hopes flower. We go to give testimony with humble joy that this Eucharistic host is the answer to the most pressing questions, comfort for every pain and sorrow, and a pledge of satisfaction for that burning thirst for happiness and love which lies in the secret of our hearts.”

We are one and free in Christ. Let us go forward to proclaim that unity and that freedom during the Year of the Eucharist by joining together on August 5 in Grant Park to praise Him through a beautiful and prayerful Eucharistic Procession and Benediction.

May God bless you and all those you love.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.
Archbishop of Chicago

Please make a point to bring lawn chairs and blankets to Grant Park on Friday, August 5, so that you and your family might be made more comfortable.

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Eucharistic Procession and Benediction in Grant Park
FRIDAY, AUGUST 5, 2005 (PDF)
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