The above photos capture (poorly) my view in the procession last night, where Archbishop Carlson and Canon Wiener, with a relic of the great King of France, led about 300 of us through the streets of the city that relies on his patronage.
Neighborhood residents came to view the scene, police blocked the streets for the procession, and local media had cameras rolling. I reflected at the time that this was such a better occasion for citizens, police and media to converge than what we've endured lately.
This is the everyday Catholic life that influences the culture and informs it-- or rather, it should be.
The procession was followed by a sermon by His Grace on the merits of our saint, a glorious Solemn Vespers and Benediction. Sublimely beautiful.
We should be grateful for events like these while we have them. Pray to St. Louis for his powerful intercession for our city and Church!
STLToday's Lily Fowler had a nice write-up of events:
On a clear Sunday afternoon, about 300 Roman Catholic faithful led a procession in a south St. Louis neighborhood.
They were there to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the birth of St. Louis IX, king of France, and the 250th anniversary of the founding of the city of St. Louis, and they took something special with them.
As they marched up and down the streets surrounding St. Francis de Sales Oratory — the neo-Gothic church known for practicing the Latin liturgy and for its soaring, 300-foot steeple — they carried a relic of St. Louis IX, a piece of bone thought to be hundreds of years old. The relic is kept in a Vatican-sealed glass case; the church is unsure exactly which bone it is.
Archbishop Robert Carlson, as well as the Rev. Michael K. Wiener, St. Francis de Sales’ rector, led the crowd as bagpipes played.
Parishioners gathered inside the church after the procession to listen to Carlson speak about the patron and namesake of the city of St. Louis.
Carlson described St. Louis IX as a “husband, a father, a man of justice and faith, a saint who said the day of his baptism ... was far more important than the day he was crowned king of France.”
“As we celebrate 250 years of faith and thank God for our Catholic heritage we ask St. Louis to intercede for us and ask God to keep us strong in faith and give us hearts that desire to serve,” Carlson said, noting St. Louis IX’s humanitarian work, such as building hospitals and serving food to the poor.
The Rev. Anthony Ochoa of St. Cecilia Catholic Church, a predominately Hispanic parish, invited his parishioners to the liturgy so they could become better acquainted with the city.
It’s a “nice way to connect to the community,” Ochoa said.
Chantel Deneus, 56, who is temporarily in St. Louis visiting her son who attends St. Louis University, called the liturgy “extraordinary.”
“It was beautiful. I don’t have the words to describe how I felt,” Deneus said.
The procession follows a weekend of Roman Catholic celebrations in August that were attended by Prince Louis de Bourbon, a direct descendant of St. Louis, as well as numerous bishops and archbishops from around the country.