The Franciscan University of Steubenville community gathered at the Marian Grotto on Wednesday to honor the nativity of the Blessed Mother with adoration, a Eucharistic procession and the semester opening of the Portiuncula Chapel.
The celebration began at 7 p.m. with adoration presided over by the Rev. Shawn Roberson, TOR. Hundreds of students and community members knelt on the grass and sidewalks surrounding the Marian grotto.
The choir sang contemplative hymns while those who were gathered sang along or prayed quietly.
Following adoration, event staff ushered the crowd into a processional line behind the Holy Eucharist. The procession, led by Roberson and the Rev. Jonathan St. Andre, TOR, wound its way around the campus roads.
People in the procession prayed the Joyful and Glorious Mysteries of the rosary. After the rosary, the crowd sang various Marian hymns aloud including “Immaculate Mary” and “Hail Holy Queen.”
Passersby in cars or on foot stopped to pray as the procession passed. Students also noted how pretty the sky was during the procession, and several took photos along the way.
The procession ended back at the Marian Grotto, where those gathered sang “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name.” Then the priests and altar servers processed into the Portiuncula Chapel to open it for perpetual adoration for the semester.
“The Eucharistic procession for Mary’s birthday was amazing,” said sophomore Gigi de La Torre. “It was great to come together as a community and celebrate Our Lady’s birthday with adoration and a Eucharistic procession.”