Walk with Christ Eucharistic Procession takes to Sydney's streets

To celebrate the feast of Christ, thousands take to the streets in Sydney for the annual Walk with Christ Eucharistic Procession. We spoke to Tim Goonan, Event Manager at the Archdiocese of Sydney, about this year’s event and what it means for local Catholics.

Tradition in modern times

Eucharistic processions are held all over the world, which is an opportunity for Catholics to make joyful public proclamations and acts of worship towards Jesus. They are not only intended to invoke His blessing upon a city, but also bring thousands of people together.

While the most famous Eucharistic procession is held in Rome and presided over by the Pope, finishing with the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, major cities right around the globe organise their own events.

Sydney’s annual event

In Sydney, the annual Walk with Christ Eucharistic Procession is a major event on Catholic calendars. It’s a chance for the faithful of Sydney, Parramatta and Broken Bay dioceses to come together and inspire others as they march through the streets of the CBD.

“We had 6,000 of Sydney's Catholics attend the event this year,” says Tim. “We walked from Martin Place, through the city and past Parliament, hospitals and other places of civic interest. The two-hour event was conducted in a deep liturgy as we prayed for the various aspects of the city and its people.

“We then finished at St Mary's Cathedral with the Benediction, where we had a series of prayers and devotions, and also spent time with the Blessed Sacrament in adoration.”

A public expression of faith and worship

Tim says aside from the participants’ expression of faith, it’s also an outreach event for the rest of the public.

“The roads are closed to traffic, but there are still lots of people walking around. So it's definitely an opportunity to engage with those people.

“There's a very strong evangelisation to the event. People along the route who are just walking and going about their usual Sunday afternoon, are engaged by people who openly demonstrate their faith. And there's an opportunity there for everyone to talk and discuss important topics.”

Tim puts this down to the procession being such a different event than is usual for Sydneysiders.

“It’s great to see that it continues to draw people’s interest and curiosity,” he says. “The big goal of the event is to be able to respond to that curiosity. We do that by having people who are ready to engage. They are able to answer questions and explain things to passers-by.”

Support from volunteers and sponsors

In order to put on the event every year, Tim and his team spend upwards of six months planning and working with various agencies around the city to ensure it goes off without a hitch.

“We work with the New South Wales police, council and government agencies, state transit authorities and security services in order to minimise the event’s impact on the public.”

Although, Tim is adamant that all the hard work is worth it – and it wouldn’t be possible without the priceless support of volunteers and sponsors.

“A lot of the volunteers come from networks within the parishes and various social groups. On the day, we have volunteers with two different coloured shirts on. One group is made up of evangelisation volunteers, who engage with people on the walk and have an opportunity to share their faith with them. The others help with more practical and operational issues, such as taking care of road closures, guiding the crowd of 6,000 through the streets, and generally helping with any last-minute changes.”

And for the sponsors, Tim says it helps make an expensive event much more manageable.

“Road closures, security measures and the months of planning obviously cost a lot of money. So the event couldn't happen without our sponsors, particularly the support of CCI. Their sponsorship helps us obtain security, contributes to administrative costs such as the printing of booklets, as well as other elements that help the event come together.”

Interested to learn more about how we give back to the Catholic Community? Continue reading our Community & News updates.