ST. JUDE PARISH

17 MOUNT OLIVE ROAD, BUDD LAKE, NEW JERSEY

Catechesis4

Catechesis

THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST

Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, formerly called Corpus Christi. While the direct translation of Corpus Christi (from the Latin) is the Body of Christ, we, as Catholics who receive Eucharist, are aware that we celebrate and receive the Body and Blood of our Lord. Corpus Christi is a festival that has been celebrated by many Christians, particularly the Catholic Church, in honor of the Eucharist since 1246. This event commemorates the Last Supper on the day before Jesus’ crucifixion, as described in the Bible. Corpus Christi is primarily celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church but it is also included in the calendar of some Anglican churches.

The Eucharist is the source and summit of the whole Christian life. The feast of Corpus Christi is a celebration of Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist. It parallels the celebration on Holy Thursday in commemoration of the institution of this sacrament. In some areas, a large procession marks this day. When the Eucharist is carried through the streets in solemn procession, the Christian people give public witness of their faith and devotion toward the sacrament of the Eucharist.

While for some time in the United States we have celebrated this solemnity on the Sunday after Trinity Sunday, at the Vatican it was traditionally celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday to align with Holy Thursday. In March of this year, Pope Francis announced an unprecedented move, moving the Roman Corpus Christi procession from Thursday to Sunday. Beginning this year, Pope Francis is scheduled to celebrate Corpus Christi on Sunday evening, June 18, 2017 (the same as we do) instead of the preceding Thursday. The pope has given two reasons for this. First, he wants to follow the Italian liturgical calendar, which observes Corpus Christi on the Sunday following the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. The other reason is that Pope Francis thinks a greater number of faithful, pilgrims and tourists will participate in the Eucharistic procession through the heart of Rome if Corpus Christi is celebrated on a Sunday.