By Christie L. Chicoine
CS&T Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA – First communicants from the regional vicariates of Chester County, Delaware County and Philadelphia-South will participate in a Mass and outdoor Eucharistic procession on the Feast of Corpus Christi at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 14, at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul, 18th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Cardinal Justin Rigali will be principal celebrant and homilist at the liturgy and afterward will lead the first communicants and their families in the procession around the perimeter of the Cathedral.

Youngsters from the three vicariates who made their first holy Communion earlier this year received a personal invitation from the Cardinal to participate.

It will be a sight to behold, as the children adore Christ in the Blessed Sacrament dressed in their first Communion finery – girls in white dresses and veils, boys in suits.

Msgr. Louis A. D’Addezio, director of the archdiocesan Office for Special Projects, is coordinating the Corpus Christi celebration.

He anticipated 350 first communicants would be in attendance.

“To all these young people, this will point out the presence of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament and perhaps instill in their hearts a devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament,” Msgr. D’Addezio said.

Because the Cathedral will be filled to capacity by the first communicants and their families – each child was given two tickets for parents, guardians or siblings – admission to the Cathedral will be by ticket only.

However, weather permitting, the general public is invited to watch the outdoor procession from the sidewalks surrounding the Cathedral.

From the Cathedral, the procession will wind north on 18th Street, east on Vine Street, south on 17th Street, west on Race Street and return to 18th Street. The Cardinal will administer the final blessing and dismissal from the front steps of the Cathedral.

In case of inclement weather, the procession will be held inside the Cathedral, where admittance will remain by ticket only for the first communicants and their designated family members.

For the children and their families, and for the extended faithful who gather to watch the outdoor procession, “it’s an opportunity to give public witness to our belief in Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament,” Msgr. D’Addezio said.

CS&T Staff Writer Christie L. Chicoine may be reached at (215) 587-2468 or