The Xavier Procession At Mass
A powerful tradition is the procession of flags and banners that opens various Masses in the gymnasium. Xavier students enter the gym, walking down the center aisle, with the priest or Bishop who will celebrate the Mass.
Next to the altar, on the right, is the Papal/Vatican flag. To the left of the altar is the American flag.
There are various flags in the procession that represent the countries in which the Xaverian Brothers work.
As an example, for the All Saints Day Mass in 2018, the Belgian flag was at the far left with the Congolese (Democratic Republic of Congo) next to it. The Brothers went to the Belgian Congo in 1931. On the right side were the flags of Kenya (1958) and Haiti (1989).
There are other flags at Xavier but often not used in the procession. For instance, there no longer are any Xaverian Brothers in England. And there are flags in the entrance to Xavier for other countries.
“We have had Brothers in Bolivia, Malawi, Lithuania, but I don’t usually use them on the grounds that most of the Xaverian Brothers Congregation is represented in the flags we use,” Bro. Philip says.
There also are six banners that can be used in the procession, though all are not used at every Mass:
- Theodore James Ryken, who founded the Xaverian Brothers in Belgium in 1839.
- St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint of Catholic missions who became one of the first seven members of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).
- The Xavier school seal.
- The Xaverian Brothers.
- The Diocese of Norwich.
- St. Joseph, married to Mary, Jesus' mother.