Corpus Christi

Today we celebrate our patronal feast day, the Feast of Corpus Christi (Day of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ the Lord), also known as the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. In addition to celebrating the birth of our parish, we also celebrate what makes Catholics unique among all Christians. This feast day is a liturgical solemnity celebrating the Real Presence of the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ in the elements of the Eucharist. Two months earlier, the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper is observed on Holy Thursday in a somber atmosphere leading to Good Friday. The liturgy on that day also commemorates Christ's washing of the disciples' feet, the institution of the priesthood and the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The feast of Corpus Christi was proposed by St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church to Pope Urban IV; in order to create a feast focused solely on the Holy Eucharist, emphasizing the joy of the Eucharist being the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. Having recognized the authenticity of the Eucharistic Miracle of Bolsena on input of Aquinas, in 1264, the pontiff, then living in Orvieto, established the feast of Corpus Christi as a Solemnity and extended it to the whole Roman Catholic Church.

The feast is liturgically celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday or, "where the Solemnity of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ is not a holy day of obligation, it is assigned to the Sunday after the Most Holy Trinity as its proper day".

At the end of Holy Mass, there is often a procession of the Blessed Sacrament, generally displayed in a monstrance. The procession is followed by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. A notable Eucharistic procession is that presided over by the Pope each year in Rome, where it begins at the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran and passes to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, where it concludes with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Dc Dan Stevens, Blessed Sacrament Church

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