Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - Updated: 4:09 pm
Visitors to Downtown Pittsburgh have become somewhat used to processions through the streets, but they still stopped and stared when the 85th International Eucharistic Rosary March wound its way through the city May 19.
Bishop David Zubik carried the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament under a canopy. He followed altar servers, first communicants and their parents, a Knights of Columbus color corps, members of the Order of Malta, religious, clergy and clouds of incense. Behind him were members of Our Lady of Fatima and Blue Army guard bearing a statue of Our Lady of Fatima, a van with speakers broadcasting a live rosary and some 300 faithful.
People who could not take part in the march remained in the church and prayed the rosary.
The procession began at Epiphany Church in Pittsburgh’s Uptown neighborhood and stopped three times — in front of the church, at Smithfield and Sixth streets, and on Centre Avenue — before returning to the church. The bishop blessed the city at each stop. The faithful waved white handkerchiefs as the monstrance was carried back into the church.
Benediction, praying of the Divine Mercy Chaplet and a crowning of Our Lady of Fatima followed.
“It was so beautiful,” said Father David Green, spiritual director of the Legion of Mary, which sponsored the march. He noted the spirituality of the faithful who took part in the march, and said they were “so blessed” to have Bishop Zubik lead it.
In noting the reaction of bystanders who stopped, looked out windows or just gazed in wonder, Father Green said, “It’s so important that we have events like this so that people can really witness and see, and give their witness to the whole community of how important it is that Jesus and Mary are with us and among us.”
The gathering began with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Zubik. He reminded the congregation of Jesus’ message that “I will always be with you,” and he noted that the cross is more than a memory and a sign. It is a challenge that people are called to live differently.
When Jesus washed the apostles’ feet, the bishop noted, they realized what Jesus meant when he called on them to “love one another.” Like the apostles, we must understand Mary’s message to live like Jesus. We are invited to bring our struggles and sorrows of our life to Christ, he noted. By focusing on the cross, we receive the power to keep moving and spread the love of Jesus to help others get to heaven.
“To see the cross of Jesus Christ for what it truly is, a “plus sign” that marks our road to salvation and how we must live,” Bishop Zubik said.
The 86th International Eucharistic Rosary March is set for Oct. 6.
With more than 4 million active members worldwide, the Legion of Mary is the largest lay association in the church. For information, call 412-884-3213, 412-886-1786 or 412-600-0859.