"The Bishops asked us to show our presence in society, so here we are and we're taking it to the streets!" This was the determined attitude that brought nearly three hundred Catholics to Our Lady of the Rosary in San Diego's Little Italy neighborhood, on the afternoon of 1 July 2012, the Feast of the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. They were there to manifest support for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' call for the "Fortnight for Freedom," a time for Catholics to demonstrate their presence in society through religious actions of various kinds, in this case, the most public demonstration of all: a Eucharistic procession including Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Following solemn exposition of the Blessed Sacrament inside Our Lady of the Rosary by Fr. Joseph Tabigue CRSP, the congregation of over two-hundred left the church singing the Italian hymn "Lodate Maria." The procession followed a route from Our Lady of the Rosary, down State St. to Beech, where it turned left and proceeded to St. Joseph's Cathedral, a distance of almost half a mile. Arriving at St. Joseph's, the procession entered to the swelling sounds of the Cathedral's Austin pipe-organ, preceded by the Knights of Columbus color-guard bearing the flags of the United States, the Vatican, and the State of California. Following them were banners from the Marian societies of Our Lady of the Rosary, the Brothers of the Little Oratory of St. Philip Neri in San Diego, the Society of Our Lady from St. John of the Cross, and from St. Didacus parish. Then came the faithful, by the hundred. After them were the acolytes carrying processional torches, the two thurifers, and the canopy covering the monstrance. Carrying the canopy were the Brothers of the Little Oratory of St. Philip Neri, dressed in the robes of the Arch-confraternity of the Precious Blood. Fr. Tabigue, in cope and stole, carried the monstrance enclosing the Blessed Sacrament, assisted by Fr. Louis Solcia CRSP, and Deacon Stephen Riordan. After the litany and prayers of adoration, Fr. Tabigue performed Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, and the Marian antiphon was sung at the Lady altar. The organ proclaimed not the conclusion of the event, but the re-entry into the world outside of hundreds of newly strengthened members of Christ's Mystical Body.
Afterwards the mood outside the church was jubilant, as shown by the group photographs, which demonstrate both the smiles of the participants, and their diversity in age and background. This was truly a diocesan event, brought together quickly out of necessity, but carried off efficiently and to maximum effect. Under the present circumstances, maintaining Catholic presence in the public arena is a priority of maximal importance, and another procession from Our Lady of the Rosary to St. Joseph's is in preparation. "The idea of proclaiming your Catholic identity in such a public and unexpected way is a little intimidating at first, but very freeing" said participant Peg Demetris from St. John of the Cross parish in Lemon Grove, "It makes you stronger as a Catholic, and as a citizen." Thanks and prayers of thanks are due to Bp. Robert Brom, to Fr. Joseph Tabigue CSRP, to Fr. Peter Escalante, Rector of St. Joseph's Cathedral, and to all the clergy and staff who assisted them in enabling this event to occur with such notable success.