Bringing peace, prayer, and healing to the nation
Billed as a Citywide Eucharistic Procession to help bring peace, prayer, and healing to the nation, the Sunday event in Minot was extraordinary by any estimation, employing all four Minot Catholic pastors leading their parishioners and others on a trek through Minot. It generated hearts beating anew to fresh life in contrast to the mindless vermin and violence spewing out of marches and protests across the land, casting a pall over American life and clogging television screens.
It was Priesthood Sunday. And each pastor-Rev. David Richter, St. John the Apostle, Rev. Kenneth Phillips, St. Therese of Little Flower, Rev. Justin Waltz, St. Leo the Great, and Rev. Bruce Krebs, Our Lady of Grace-presided over his parish as the procession moved, starting from St. John the Apostle and proceeding to the other parishes.
It was estimated the procession covered one and a half miles from parish to parish. In addition to marchers, there were carts and other vehicles carrying people. Those who did not march participated through Eucharistic Adoration at each of the churches.
Leading off with Mass at St. John the Apostle, marchers moved outdoors where Father Richter offered prayers of minor exorcism, a ritual to drive out evil spirits wherever they dwell. Then, lining up behind Richter carrying the Blessed Sacrament inside the monstrance, the procession took off behind the American flag and the flag of the Vatican carried by members of the Knights of Columbus. A trumpet fanfare announced their arrival and departure. Juniors and seniors from Bishop Ryan Catholic School, organized by Rev. Gregory Crane, school chaplain, served for Mass and the procession. Father Crane also was the official master of ceremonies for the event.
The procedure followed at each parish with its pastor assuming the lead role of prayers of exorcism and carrying the Blessed Sacrament to the next destination.
The procession concluded with Benediction at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church.
The event had its origins in a men’s group at Our Lady of Grace Church. Jeff Case, a member of the group, said they had not been able to meet since the pandemic began. Normally they meet monthly, he said, and they were missing the connection with one another.
“We approached our pastor, Father Bruce Krebs, and told him we needed to do something. Finally, on August 21, we sat down and brainstormed about what we might do to combat the problems we are facing. We felt that we should demonstrate some leadership. Eventually, we started talking about a procession. We contacted the pastors of the other Catholic parishes in Minot and got positive responses from all of them.”
They formed a committee with representatives from each parish: Beverly Brintnell of St. Leo’s, Lucas DeMers of St. John’s, Hans Gayzur, a deacon at Little Flower, and Case.
“Our main purpose,” Case said, “is that we believe we need to return to the Lord in prayer. We’d like to cultivate a community of prayer in Minot, asking everyone to recognize we need to respond to the Lord. We have so many problems in the country. The politicians aren’t solving them. How about someone more powerful? How about the Lord?”
The committee started meeting September 2. “There were so many logistics to deal with,” DeMers noted. He served as official videographer. “I walked or ran the whole way in order to capture this historic event” he said.
Case noted the procession was a block long with people dropping off at various points and others joining in. He estimates at least one thousand people participated in the event.
At its conclusion, all of the priests in the Minot region were guests at a dinner arranged by the Serra Club of North Central North Dakota in observance of Priesthood Sunday.