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FOCUS Swells Sunday Morning Crowds in Ave Maria

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It certainly didn't seem like the summer off-season Sunday morning in Ave Maria as hundreds of missionaries from the Fellowship of Christian University Students (FOCUS) joined residents to worship in the oratory and participate in a traditional Eucharistic Procession for the Feast of Corpus Christi. Above, the procession stopping at one of three stations set up around the church.

massof2-275FOCUS, which has about 500 missionaries, who provide Catholic outreach to both Catholic and secular universities around the United States, is in Ave Maria for six weeks of training and orientation.

The 10 a.m. Mass in the Ave Maria Oratory – the only Mass in English scheduled by the parish administration – overflowed, with about 150 people forced to stand in the aisles or in the narthex outside the main part of the church. Right, a FOCUS participant (with blue backpack) kneels in the aisle.

Following the Mass, Fr. Robert McTeigue led everyone in a Eucharistic procession marking the Feast of Corpus Christi. The procession took place coinciding with the time that Pope Francis had asked Catholics around the world to hold a special observance to honor the eucharist.

Requests for a second Sunday mass in English to accommodate 500 visiting FOCUS members along with other mass-goers were declined by pastor Fr. Robert Tatman, who suggested the visitors might wish to attend the Extraordinary Form Mass in Latin at 12:30 instead. As these two photos (10 a.m. left, 12:30 right) illustrate, such turned out not to be the case, and the English-language Mass was jammed to standing room only.

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Below, the Eucharistic Procession winding around the oratory.

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Around the Neighborhoods
New April, 2014 Edition featuring:
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Imbus Turkey Shoot!
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