My childhood memories include a Sunday in late May or June when there was a Procession of the Blessed Sacrament from the Cathedral through the streets to a repository nearby (e.g. the Bishop’s Palace, the front entrance of the Convent.). Hymns were sung, prayers were recited while little girls threw flower petals along the way, as the people followed the Blessed Sacrament being carried in a monstrance under a special umbrella or canopy. Some parish groups carried banners and people were dressed in their Sunday best. It was a solemn joyful public event. The Blessed Sacrament was placed in a beautifully decorated repository and remained exposed for a time while parishioners spent time in prayer and adoration.
This past June, we have explored in the liturgy the progressive revelation of the mystery of God’s infinite love for humanity. I envision Corpus Christi as a liturgical summit to these feasts. It is an occasion to remember Jesus’ loving presence among us in a concrete, visible manner.
By honoring Christ in the Blessed Sacrament with reverence, ceremony and adoration we celebrate the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist—Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. The feast was first celebrated in 1246 in the diocese of Liège in Belgium. The festival was extended to whole Church by Pope Urban IV in 1264. By the 15thcentury, it had become a major feast throughout the Church, and was often accompanied by music, dancing and fireworks. It remains a festive expression of faith in many parts of the world.
In Canada Corpus Christi is celebrated on the Sunday after Trinity Sunday (i.e. 60 days after Easter). Often, because of circumstances, the procession takes place entirely within the church building, but remains nonetheless a solemn joyful expression of the faith. Thus we continue the tradition of affirming our faith in a public manner.
O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament left us a memorial of your Passion: grant, we implore you,that we may so venerate the sacred mysteries of your body and blood, as always to be conscious of the fruit of your redemption. Thomas Aquinas
Submitted by Sr. Janice Fournier, pm