.- Archdiocesan officials estimate that nearly 10,000 people, bearing colorful banners and donning t-shirts emblazoned with pro-life phrases, were present in Chicago’s Grant Park Sunday for a Eucharistic benediction and procession through the streets of the city.
Cardinal Francis George led the procession and benediction--the first outdoor liturgy of its kind in Chicago in five years--saying that the Eucharist is about change.
He asked the crowd, “What needs to be transformed? What needs to be changed? . . . What makes us a society that is too often plagued by violence in the streets and in our neighborhoods and by corruption of various sorts in corporations, in our governments and even at times, in the church?"
He noted that peace can only be achieved if people are able to become free of their own vices and addictions to things like alcohol, drugs, gambling, pornography, anger and "our own prejudices and racism."
The procession, held in honor of the Year of the Eucharist, proclaimed by the late John Paul II, was led by some 2,000 Knights of Columbus who had just finished their national congress at the nearby Hilton Hotel.
23 year old Andrew Brinkman, a University of Chicago law student told the Chicago Sun-Times that the gathering is "an important testimony to our faith and demonstrates the Catholic commitment to evangelizing the city."
Suzanne Devane, likewise told the Sun-Times that, "I think Catholics feel like we're the least popular people in the country right now. We're seen as the 'horrible Christian right,'…It's wonderful to be together in solidarity with other people of the same faith."