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Another type of Eucharistic flash mob

Thomas Peters, the American Papist, recently posted another flash mob video that took place in England by Franciscan Friars. Bringing Jesus into the public square can be a powerful experience, may have a powerful impact on believers, and may bring about a conversion in non-believers, or those away from the Church. While moving, it raises concerns about the treatment of the Blessed Sacrament, for instance, when the Friar stuffs the monstrance, with Jesus in it, into a duffel bag and walks away with the duffel swinging at his side.

Fr. Z also posted the English flash mob, and a lengthy discussion ensued. Fr. Z created a poll about this video, and posed some questions about this kind of evangelization.

While many were comments were positive, there were also many reservations. Some comments included:

" I don’t think that one should expose the presence without at least some ability to attempt to protect it from insult. "

"I find the concept of putting Jesus into a gym bag and walking off with Him disturbing. "

"I think a more formally organized event, like a Eucharistic procession, could have the same evangelical effect of witness while better safeguarding the dignity of the Blessed Sacrament. "

"An example of what could have gone wrong is when that young woman came and grabbed the friar’s shoulder at the end… it looked as if she was thanking him, but it could have been otherwise…"

Finally, a priest named Fr. Basil summed it up:

First off, the music at the beginning is what so many people here complain about when it’s played at an Ordinary Form Mass. Why is it acceptable here?
Next, there is the impropriety of simply pulling the Holy Mysteries out of a bag and exposing them to the gaze of all and sundry, including the uninstructed and unbelievers and inattentive. Was the possibility of a mentally ill person or hater of God attacking the priest and desecrating the Holy Gifts ever considered?
The message about Jesus throughout the Bible was good, but it would have been just as effective–and more closely following the examples of the ancient evangelists and missionaries–had he simply held up a large, beautiful Crucifix...
A poster on Fr. Z's blog named Birgit offered the video above as a more reverent way to bring Jesus to the streets. It's presented by Grassroots Films, an independent inspirational motion picture film company founded in 2001.

In one parish in Norwalk, CT, the Corpus Christi procession was meant to do this, bring Jesus reverently out into an urban area, pausing in the parking lot of a bank, where an altar was set up and Tantum Ergo was sung. Then the procession continued.

Many people were touched by the Franciscan Friar video, the readings and the simplicity of the devotion. To bring Jesus to the people, to witness to the power of the Blessed Sacrament, and pray for the conversion of our neighborhoods, and the world, is charitable.  Is it the most reverent way it can be done?

While the Grassroots film is a professionally produced video, and the UK video is not as slick, which do you prefer, and why?


  1. Linda, I admit to mixed feelings, but it turned out well. Maybe as Fr Z suggested, a small procession could have marched into and overtaken the square, with some men on alert to interrupt possible assailants.
    Just in case. . .

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  3. I agree with your post. While taking Jesus to the public square is a great thing (and should be done), I found the casual transport to be a potential problem with proper reverence...not to mention a risk. Wouldn't it be wonderful if Corpus Cristi processions were re-instituted instead? The example of the bishop in Louisville, KY who processes Jesus in the Monstrance to the abortion mills where the faithful are praying after a pro-life Mass also comes to mind. God bless!

  4. Leticia-I agree totally! And I felt the same as you- mixed feelings. Something about the simplicity was really nice. There is an article about how all this kind of Adoration came about, but I still have reservations.

  5. Birgit, As you see in my blog post, we had a phenomenal Corpus Christi Procession through downtown Norwalk, CT. It's not NYC, but it's not the best neighborhood, either. I'm with you, I'd love to be part of a procession through NYC! I contacted the Franciscan Friar who planned this, and asked him how he planned ot deal with potential disturbances. I'm curious to see what he says.

  6. I wrote to the Brother who helped organize the Capuchin Flash Mob to express my thanks and concerns about potential sacrilege. His response:

    Linda, I didn't have any particular plans as to any violent reactions like that. Mockery and misunderstanding is common enough in our part of the world, but actually violent anti-Catholicism is very rare, thank God. But there were plenty of Catholics there, who could have intervened if there was trouble.

    As for the man with the backpack, if you watch the video carefully, you can catch glimpses of him hanging around on the edge of the circle afterwards, chewing his nails and looking thoughtful. I think being so close to Jesus had touched him, although he eventually went off. Please pray for him.

    I should have mentioned that our greatest safety was in secrecy. Only the members of the flash mob (plus the parish priest) knew the location, and most of them were only told shortly beforehand. That was important in protecting us from 'counter-demonstrations'.

  7. Anonymous1:35 PM

    I like the idea of bringing Jesus to the people When he was on earth he mixed with the down trodden and everybody he didnt hide himself If the people dont go to visit him in church let him come on the streets to visit them .He also needs to be brought into prisons .we all need his healing touch .