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A day set aside to honor Christ in a public way
June 7, 2010
by Fr. Thomas Balluff, St. Mary of Czestochowa, Delano

The feast of Corpus Christi is one time when our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, not just to faithful Catholics, but to all the world.

This is a time when Catholics can show their love for Christ in the Real Presence by honoring Him in a very public way. It is also a wonderful way in which we can show our love for our neighbors by bringing Our Lord and Savior closer to them.

So many conversions are a result of Eucharistic adoration experienced from inside the church. How many more there would be if we could reach those who only drive by the church in worldly pursuits.

The full name of this feast is Corpus et Sanguis Christi, or The Body and Blood of Christ. According to the full brief of Pope Urban IV in “The Blessed Eucharist,” the feast of the Blessed Sacrament was established in 1246, by Bishop Robert de Thorte of Liege at the suggestion of St. Juliana of Mont Carvillon. It was extended to the universal Church by Pope Urban in 1264. The office composed by St. Thomas Aquinas and customary procession was approved by Popes Martin V and Eugene IV. It is celebrated in June, the first Sunday after the feast of the Trinity.”

After the last Mass on this feast day, Our Lord is placed in the monstrance. The priest then carries Him to four different altars representing the four corners of the earth. While processing, the congregation follows and sings. At each altar, there are readings, prayers, and benediction.

The public procession of the Eucharist should be promoted everywhere, especially in light of the example of Pope John Paul II, who took the annual Corpus Christi procession from St. Peter’s Square to the streets of Rome. However, such a procession must be carefully planned. If it passes “through the streets,” i.e., outside church property, it may be authorized by the diocesan bishop, who should establish appropriate regulations to ensure respect for the Eucharist, a dignified celebration, and full participation on the part of the people.

What a beautiful way to worship and adore our Lord as we process out in the world, sharing Him for all to see.