Regnum Christi NY Tri-State

The Siege of Jericho

This past month I was able to catch up with the parishioners of St. Peter-St. Denis in Yonkers, a Hispanic parish which has been directed by the Legionaries of Christ since 2012, for their 11th annual “Siege of Jericho.” Having been assigned to St. Peter-St. Denis from 2015-2017 myself, I can testify that the “Siege” is like nothing you’ve ever encountered before.

So, what exactly is it?

Imagine the Blessed Sacrament exposed 24/7, with non-stop adoration, and frequently loud, vocal

 supplications to the Lord. At any given moment of the day or night, you’re likely to hear people singing, praying the Rosary together, or simply calling out to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Each evening, a Mass with over 500 people from all over the area takes place, followed by a Eucharistic procession around the parish grounds, and a long prayer service lasting several hours. All throughout the Liturgy, at least three priests hear Confessions for as long as there are people in line for it.

The inspiration behind the Siege of Jericho was Fr. Helio Cantú LC, who first encountered the practice as aseminarian while doing vocational ministry in Brazil. During that time, he witnessed the conversions and healing which took place as people renounced the sins that create “walls” in their hearts, preventing God’s grace from entering. From that time onward, he knew he wanted to create something similar when he was a priest.

The logic of the Siege is all about breaking down the “spiritual walls” in our lives. Just as the Israelites circled Jericho for 6 days with prayer and the blowing of horns before the Lord brought down the city walls on the 7th day, so the faithful, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, ask the Lord to bring down the walls in their hearts, and to “conquer” the interior strongholds in their souls.

As a priest, it’s amazing to see the Holy Spirit working in so many souls as they pass through the Confessional. It’s also frankly amazing to see the work of one of my brother Legionaries as he gathers his parishioners around the Lord, forms them by his preaching, draws them to living contact with Jesus in the Sacraments, and sends them out with renewed fervor to a world that so badly needs joyful witnesses of the faith.

To me, it’s just another example of a Legionary priest adapting the charism to fit the needs of the Church and the world around him. What are the needs of the Church and the world around you?

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