Written by: Denise Serafini on Thursday, March 30, 2017
We made the trip to Ohio to arrive on Wednesday, March 29 in Cleveland for a presentation at Mary Queen of Peace parish. We actually were slated to do two events: one in the afternoon for the school children and one in the evening for the greater parish community. Father Douglas Brown, pastor for this parish presided over both events. This church is typical of the great edifices of times long gone by, created in Greek or Roman architecture. It was absolutely beautiful and so large I regretted not bring all eight of our banner backdrops. Although we brought six we could have easily added the other two and it never would have appeared cluttered.
Jean and I were totally surprised to have almost 300 children join us for an abbreviated program. I never would have thought there would be so many students enrolled in an inner-city Catholic school. I guess we’ve been conditioned to think of the Catholic school systems as having a diminished existence these days. These children were an example for all young people attending a liturgical function. They were quiet and attentive throughout the program. They came through the veneration line and I could see by their respectfulness and smiles that they were pleased to have had the opportunity to participate in the program and be in the presence of these holy artifacts. A pianist and cantor joined us for this event and it made it all the more special.
For the evening event we included the violin with the musicians and there were 24 or more Sir Knights from the Knights of Columbus in the Color Guard. What a magnificent display of regalia and ceremony! They participated in the procession, bringing all the relics into the church, held them on high for each meditation, presented swords in salute to Jesus in the Eucharist and held the relics for veneration. This was such a large church that it was difficult to tell, but I believe there had to be 400 people in attendance. It took quite a while to allow everyone time to come through the veneration line and the Sir Knights swapped out during the process to mitigate potential fatigue from standing in place for a prolonged period.
I had asked Father Brown to provide me with a 10-to-12-word quote giving his impression of the event once it was over. He provided much more than we asked for and we are truly touched by his words. He said, "The Apostolate for Holy Relics brought the Passion of Jesus Christ to my parish in a very immediate and personal way. Sometimes I think we can get caught up in apologetics and theological concepts, but when the Relics of the Passion were here, an emotional response of love developed for Christ and His sacrifice for us, that, quite frankly, I had not seen before. During the prayers and meditations, you could have heard a pin drop as the Passion became very real to those in attendance. During the afternoon Children's Program, approximately 300 children listened attentively and reverently venerated the relics in a manner that I believe will have a long-lasting impact upon them. As the event concluded, I was thanked over and over by the faithful for bringing this to our parish. “
Father Brown added to his comments saying that “the thanks should go to the Apostolate for Holy Relics for their good work.” On that point I respectfully ask him to consider the following concept. The parish of Mary Queen of Peace is a result of the merger of the churches of Corpus Christi and our Lady of Good Counsel. I think it’s Our Lady in her good counsel that arranged for Father Brown to discover our little ministry while doing some online surfing. She also was part of helping us to create this program honoring Her Son. I believe that it was the Holy Spirit and Our Lady that guided us to come together to create a scenario by which the parishioners of Mary Queen of Peace parish could meditate on the offering of the Body and Blood of Her Son (Corpus Christi) to the Father for our salvation. I say we should join together to thank Our Lady of Good Counsel and Queen of Peace for allowing us the privilege of uniting in prayer to commemorate the Passion of Her Son that allowed Jesus to touch the hearts of the many faith-filled parishioners that answered the call of the Holy Spirit to attend the event.