By Justin W. Haggerty
As American cities plunge into increasing turmoil and violence, many Catholic communities are holding similar discussions on whether they should act or remain silent. Recognizing the need to act, our answer was to organize the Procession of Hearts on the Feast of the Assumption, Aug 15th, to unite in prayer of the Holy Rosary and to consecrate Atlanta and Georgia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Sacred Heart of Jesus.
For many reasons, 2020 has presented a glimpse into a world where religious freedoms and the prosperity for Catholics and their children are in jeopardy. In light of recent events we must ask each other, where is the charity in remaining silent?
Amongst our local community in Atlanta, there is an agrement that Christ taught us to turn the other cheek and to embrace our persecution when it finds us. Our Lord also, by His Holy Sacrifice on the Cross, encouraged and instructed the faithful to defend others.
Initially, the Procession of Hearts was designed by several members of the Sacred Military Order of Knights of the Republic and Most Victorious Heart of Jesus, a recently founded lay organization that is based in Atlanta. Like Poland’s Solidarity Movement with Pope Saint John Paul II, we felt that the Procession of Hearts needed to be a coalition of the faithful.
Our local members quickly built partnerships with other faithful around the archdiocese, to help organize the procession in Atlanta, and now the Procession of Hearts has a great leadership team from all different parishes and organizations. The support from other parishes, youth ministries, Knights of Columbus, and Church Militant Resistance have been commendable.
With the intent to remain humble, not cause a public disruption, and foster a safe atmosphere, we chose to organize the procession in Piedmont Park, near downtown Atlanta, which provides beautiful scenery, large paths, and accessible parking from the Botanical Gardens and surrounding areas. To allow participants the opportunity to attend morning Mass for the Feast of the Assumption, the faithful will gather in The Greenswards and start the procession at 3pm.
We are graciously thankful to God for giving us the intention to make the Procession of Hearts something that any Catholic could join, embrace, organize and take ownership of. It is not just about our group or any other group; we are all members of the one Mystical Body of Christ and His Church.
Bp. Athanasius Schneider, in Christus Vincit, accurately identified that “the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ and the Eucharist is the Heart…the Heart gives blood and energy to the body.” In trying times, such as these, faithful Catholics must remain receptive to the graces that flow from His Eucharistic Heart and come together in prayer to publicly proclaim the Faith and our filial love for God and His children. God’s love and grace is what unites us; not hate and division.
Letters were formally sent to the Chancery of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta, to ask Archbishop John Hartmayer, O.F.M. for his support, blessing, and to lead the procession. Although originally lay organized, we graciously welcome all priests and religious to participate in the procession.
Lastly, we must be responsible and make the proper precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic. All participants in the procession must maintain a 6ft distance and we recommend everyone to wear masks and bring necessities like hand-sanitizer. Most importantly, bring water and prepare for the August heat.
Let us come together, on the Feast of the Assumption, to process with the Holy Rosary, unite our hearts to the Eucharistic Heart of the Church, and consecrate our cities and states to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Sacred Heart of Jesus.
We pray that the Lord encourages many other cities and towns to join us across the United States. This can be a foundation for many future processions.
Date: Feast of the Assumption, Saturday, August 15th, 2020
Time: 3:00pm – 4:30pm
Location: The Greenswards, Piedmont Park, Atlanta, Georgia
Who: Lay Catholics (Family Friendly), Priests, and Religious
COVID-19 Precautions: Maintain 6ft Distance, Recommend Masks, Wash Hands, etc.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/processionofhearts
Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/296240178292010/
All questions should be directed to email@example.com