Because of the Feast of Corpus Christi

Sometimes, I feel like I don’t fit in—to my adopted state of New Jersey, to my neighborhood, heck even to my family, which is three males plus me. This is why I am thankful for the Eucharist and for the Feast of Corpus Christi that celebrates it. (Pictured here is the Corpus Christi procession of parishioners at Holy Cross Croy, in the Archdiocese of Glasgow, Scotland.)

Let’s consider what God did. He loves each and every one of us with such effusion that He sent his only Son to Earth so that we might have the possibility of Heaven, the place where all of us will always feel we fit, united as we will be for eternity with our creator. His Son suffered and died an unjust and tortuous death to free us from our sins. And before His Son died, He instituted the Eucharist so that each of us might have a foretaste of Heaven every day of our lives.

My parish will celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi  with great elaboration on Sunday. We will have an outdoor procession with the Blessed Sacrament, followed by a Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Among the sounds of bells and the wafting of incense at each of four outdoor altars that represent the four corners of the earth, we will sing medieval chants composed by St. Thomas of Aquinas.

For most of its history, the Church did not celebrate this Feast. The day, officially known as the Solemnity of the  Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, first was celebrated in the 13th century, thanks to the efforts of St. Juliana, an Augustinian nun from Belgium and a contemporary of St. Thomas.

One purpose of this feast day is to remind ourselves of what the Eucharist is—Christ Himself, body, blood, soul, and divinity. The feast also brings that knowledge to the outside world. Our parish sits in the heart of our small town, and many drivers and pedestrians will see us processing with the Blessed Sacrament around the parish property.

God gave us the Eucharist so that we might become the Body of Christ. This means when we leave the walls of our churches, we become the face of Christ to those we encounter. It also means we are better able to see the face of Christ in our neighbors.

God underlined this point for me last month, when our oldest son was confirmed on the Feast of Pentecost. Before the Mass we hosted a simple breakfast reception for friends and neighbors on our enclosed front porch. Our next-door neighbors, Roger and Fayga, Orthodox Jews and retired public school teachers, loaned us tables and chairs, as well as two tablecloths Fayga had sewn herself. They attended, along with about 20 other people. My family rushed from the reception to Mass. We didn’t return home until hours later, after the Mass and a luncheon reception for family members at a nearby hotel. We discovered that while we were gone, Fayga had taken it upon herself to clean up from the breakfast reception.

The Feast of Corpus Christi is a powerful reminder for us Catholics to share our faith with the world and to understand that the Eucharist will help us discover the face of Christ in unexpected places.

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    A couple of quick points:1. I'm not sure all the altar girls in the above photo is doing much to help priestly vocations at that parish. Altar girls are one of the top ten mistakes made in American Catholicism today. They kill priestly vocations by crowding out altar boys.2. Prior to the rupturous last forty years, there were two feasts–one for the body of Christ, and one for his Precious Blood (July 1st). July is still unofficially the month of Christ's precious blood. It was Bugnini's consilium that smushed the two, distinct feasts together.

  • Allison

    It looks as if there are three altar girls and two altar boys in the photo. I know in my diocese it is up to the parish priest to decide if girls may serve. Parents also play a huge role in encouraging their sons – or daughters – to take an active part in a parish. It saddens me to see so many families where the mothers take their children to Mass and Dad stays home. I don't blame altar girls for any of this.

  • Sarah Harkins

    Beautiful post, Allison. I love the tradition of processing with the Eucharist. It's nice to read what it means to you and how it is a huge witness to others in the community. And girls as alter servers…You're right, Allison.Let's focus on what's really important for priestly vocations…FATHERS who teach the faith through example and word.

  • Allison

    @Sarah: Thank you. Tomorrow will be the first time I have participated in a procession with the Eucharist. I never even have seen such a procession. Let's pray for good weather!

  • Anonymous

    Dear Friends,I admire your enthusiasm and desire to share the joy you find in your new found faith. I am a bit concerned that you are making an idol out of Catholicism. As an RCIA catechist of more then a decade, I'm sure you discussed the importance of institutional as well as individual humility. Be who you are with joy, the best witness, but be open to reality. The Church needs members with open hearts, minds, and EYES to see the reality of our all too human institution. Focus on being a disciple of Christ, not simple a good Catholic.peace, Linda Daily

  • Allison

    Linda: Thanks for stopping by. I encourage you to read more postings from our site if you have the time. I am a cradle Catholic and Frank and Webster are recent converts. If I had to consider themes of our posts, it would be the joy we find in our faith and how the faith enables us to encounter the face of Christ in others and to be the face of Christ in others.We are not blind to the fact the Church here on earth is comprised of flawed human beings and we have had discussions of that as well.blessings, Allison

  • Sarah Harkins

    @Linda=Being Catholic is the best way to be a disciple of Christ! I will never be afraid to live life as fully Catholic because that is the way Christ has taught us we can BEST live our life.

  • Laurie

    One of the most beautiful moments of my life was the first time I heard the priest (now "my" priest, btw) say, "Body of Christ" as Holy Communion was being received. I will carry that feeling with me forever.Knowing what He has given (and continues to give, and will give)–EVERYTHING, …there is no greater love. The Church is Truth. Light. Hope. and Love.That's reality.

  • Allison

    Our priest said it repeatedly today during our Mass and Procession. Our Lord is a Eucharistic God.

  • Frank

    For Linda, do you mean this?"'My country, right or wrong,' is a thing that no patriot would think of saying. It is like saying, 'My mother, drunk or sober.'" -G.K. ChestertonHere are some titles for you. Have you read "An interview with President Washington?" Or "Thoughts on the Scandal on a Sunday?" Try our handy search feature.I'm a realist, not a hopeless romantic. There are good Marines, bad Marines, quiet Marines, and loud Marines. In the end, they are all Marines. The Marine that is getting in trouble all the time this week, may be a Medal of Honor winner and a dead hero next week. I suspect that the same can be said of Christians and Catholics as well. No excuse to jump ship or start bagging on the institution either, because "Don't Give Up the Ship Makes Sense" (another title).