Diocese of Orange Bishop Kevin W. Vann joined clergy, parishioners, and Santa Ana residents on Sunday, April 19 for a prayerful procession of the Blessed Sacrament from Immaculate Heart of Mary Church through the surrounding neighborhood.
Father Armando Virrey and Father Mauro Trujillo, parochial vicars of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, joined Bishop Vann in leading the procession, which began at 4 p.m. at the church, 1100 S. Center Street, and proceeded through some of the south Santa Ana parish’s main intersections and residential streets.
“In this time of isolation, it is important that the people witness Christ’s love and resurrection firsthand,” explained Bishop Vann. “The Blessed Sacrament coming to people in their homes, blesses them, inspires them to pray, and gives witness to God’s power and Jesus’s triumph over death.
“That Easter message resonates with us today perhaps more than ever.”
This was the fourth such procession; the most recent one occurred in celebration of Easter Sunday.
“Bishop Vann has heard and seen what we are doing and wants to be a part of it, and our community is excited to see him,” said Margarita Acevedo, parish spokesperson. “It’s a very good opportunity to show that there is hope for an end to this pandemic.”
Father Armando Virrey, vicar of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, held the Blessed Sacrament aloft in its golden monstrance – the holy receptacle in which the consecrated Host is exposed for veneration – while standing safely in the bed of a Jeep driven by a parishioner.
On Easter Sunday, excited families and individual parishioners welcomed the procession with balloons, signs of welcome and requests for prayer, and Mexican and American flags. Many of them waved white handkerchiefs or towels as symbols of welcome to Jesus on the day celebrating His Resurrection.
“People were waiting for us on the main streets and in their neighborhoods,” Acevedo said. “We feel very blessed that since we can’t go to church and pray together, we still have a sign that our church is here with us.”
Some of the streets along the route taken by the procession include the neighborhood immediately south of the church at West Edinger and Center Streets; South Greenville, South Fairview, West Myrtle, South Raitt, South Townsend and South Sullivan streets, and South Pacific Avenue.
“Knowing the novel coronavirus situation, our priests wanted a way to inspire people with hope and faith,” she noted. “Even though the church is closed, we are still unified.”
For details, visit Immaculate Heart of Mary Church’s website at ihmsantaana.org or the parish Facebook page, or phone the parish office at 714-751-5335.
RESOURCES FOR CATHOLICS IN THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS
Livestream Masses, opportunities for community service, spiritual and prayer resources, and outreach organizations serving those in need are available by visiting evangelizeoc.com.
The Diocese of Orange office of Life, Justice and Peace and Evangelism and Parish Faith Formation, as well as the Youth and Young Adult ministry have created the new website as a service to local Catholics isolating with their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
EvangelizeOC.com offers homeschooling ideas, inspiration for family prayer sessions, online educational resources, and much more for individuals and family members of all ages.