Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller led the Feast of Corpus Christi Eucharistic Procession on Sunday after a noon Mass that packed San Fernando Cathedral in downtown San Antonio.

The procession celebrated the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and while it is a Catholic tradition that goes back centuries, this is the third year that it has been formally celebrated in this way by the local clergy.

The procession took hundreds of devotees through an especially humid downtown afternoon for a final blessing at San Francesco Di Paola Church, stopping a half dozen times along the way to recite litanies including The Lord’s Prayer. The crowd grew as it approached the church as those lined up along the procession route to throw flower petals into the procession joined in after Archbishop García-Siller walked by.

“It felt like a journey delivering the body of Christ from one place to another to rest here,” said Rudy Rodriguez, a Catholic who participated in the processional. “It’s a very emotional feeling when you see something like this happen.”

“We like to give back and be part of the Catholic world,” said his wife, Janice Rodriguez.

Pope Francis took part in the procession in Rome on Thursday in accordance with the liturgical calendar.

“Although numerous bishops’ conferences throughout the world have transferred the celebration of Corpus Christi to this Sunday to accommodate the faithful,” according to Catholic online news magazine Aleteia, “the Vatican liturgical calendar stays true to tradition, marking the Solemnity of Corpus Christi on the Thursday after Holy Trinity Sunday.”

After a century hiatus, the procession was brought back into practice by Pope St. John Paul II in 1982 and has risen in popularity ever since.

“The Archdiocese aims to support the procession as an annual archdiocesan-wide celebration,” according to a news release from the Archdiocese.

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Kathryn Boyd-Batstone is a California native and a graduate of the University of Oregon. She moved to San Antonio in December 2015 to join The Rivard Report team as photographer and videographer.