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The Procession
 One parish event which never failed to bring colour and cheer to towns and villages was the annual Corpus Christi procession. The feast of Corpus Christi was introduced in the 13th century, on the recommendation of a Belgian nun and the purpose of it was to celebrate the presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Eucharist. It was another of these moveable feasts whose dates were dependent on the timing of Easter. Palm Sunday, Ascension Thursday, Pentecost Sunday and Trinity Sunday are in the same category. The chosen date for Corpus Christi was 10 days after Trinity Sunday, which was one week after Pentecost Sunday so it was usually in June. It was a holy day of obligation up to quite recently but is now commemorated on a Sunday nearest to the official date. However, the procession wasn’t always held on the actual feast of Corpus Christi- it was more likely to be held on the following Sunday and generally took place after last mass.
It was an event which involved everybody, regardless of age, profession or status and demanded great organising. When the mass finished, the priest transferred the Blessed Sacrament into a lunette, which is a circular glass-covered vessel and placed it in the monstrance. Then outside the church, everyone got into place. The altar boys, dressed in gleaming white surplices and black soutanes, generally walked in front, often carrying candles. Four men carried a beautiful fringed canopy which gave protection from the weather to the priest. The first Communion girls, dressed in their beautiful white dresses and veils, had a very special role to play as they walked alongside the priest with baskets of flowers and strewed the petals along the path of the Blessed Sacrament.
The solemnity of the occasion was palpable as the procession wound its way through the various streets and roads of the village: priest, altar boys, First Communicants, religious personnel like nuns, priest and brothers; members of religious associations such as the Children of Mary in their blue cloaks, Legion of Mary, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Pioneer Association, members of Sodalities carrying their banners; choir members mingled through the general gathering and the sweet strains of hymns like Sweet Sacrament Divine, Sweet heart of Jesus, To Jesus Heart all burning, rang through the whole place. Decades of the Rosary were recited in between the hymns.
There was bunting across the streets and flags flying from every window, the Papal flag being the dominant one. People decorated their windows and set up altars at the doorways with images of the Sacred Heart and statues of Our Lady and other saints. Vases of sweet-smelling flowers added to the colour. The welcome sight and very distinctive scent of lupins always reminds me of “the day of the procession”. As the procession completed its route, all returned to the church for Benediction. We knelt as the choir sang Tantum Ergo and O Salutaris and then the priest raised the monstrance to give the final blessing. Is it over yet? No, it’s not over until the voices of the whole congregation ring out in rousing tones with the grand finale-Yes it has to be two verses of Faith of our Fathers!
All of that ritual and solemnity was evident as Garrafrauns held its annual procession. The route taken was from the church over to Lallys’ shop. Then it proceded as far as Hessions’ house (Later to become Mitchells’) and then returned to the church. The last procession in Garrafrauns took place in 1954. It was a great day in the village-a day to come together, to pray, to sing, to dress up,  a day to meet friends and relations. For children, it was a day for ice- cream, bulls’ eyes, butter scotch bars, lucky bags and sticky liquorice!