SANTA PAULA, CALIF—On Sunday, October 30, students at Thomas Aquinas College marked the closing of the Year of the Eucharist with a candlelit procession that began in the College's temporary chapel and made its way throughout the campus. The Year of the Eucharist was established by the late Pope John Paul II to encourage increased devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.
Organized by student members of the two Legion of Mary praesidia at the college, the Eucharistic procession began at 6:15 p.m., following exposition of the Blessed Sacrament during the afternoon. Over 100 students participated in the event at which Rev. Michael Perea, O.Praem., Assistant to the Dean for Religious Affairs, officiated.
Beneath a canopy of red and gold, designed and made by students, Fr. Perea carried the monstrance, attended by acolytes, candle bearers and thurifers. The procession paused at seven locations for prayer and blessings—the construction site of the college's new Chapel of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, and the six residence halls—where students had placed small altars for silent adoration.
Accompanying the procession were members of the college's Schola whose Gregorian Chant hymns alternated with motets sung by members of the Thomas Aquinas College Choir who were also in attendance. The procession concluded with solemn Benediction in the chapel. A reception followed with breads baked specially by students for the occasion.
Says Fr. Perea, "Organized as it was by the two praesidia of the Legion of Mary, ultimately this event was a work of Our Lady. It was wonderful to see the students' love for Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament."