Sunday, June 2, 2013

Corpus Christi: The Body of Christ

from, accessed 06/05/2013

Corpus Christi!!! Corpus Christi is a Latin phrase used in reference to the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ.  We celebrate this feast day on the Sunday after Trinity Sunday and it is not a holy day of obligation (except when it is celebrated on a Sunday, which, in the US, it usually is).  This is one of those holidays that I wasn't really aware of until I began paying attention to our liturgical calendar when I started teaching Catechism.

The Feast of Corpus Christi began with a beautiful story.  A young nun, Juliana, had great love for the Blessed Sacrament - the Eucharist - and longed for a celebration of it outside of Lent. (Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday, is the celebration of the Institution of the Eucharist at Christ's Last Supper.)  She had a recurring dream/vision for almost 20 years of a beautiful white full moon, with one dark, black spot on it. Jesus later revealed to her that the full moon represented the Church calendar, and the black spot was the missing solemnity of His presence in the Eucharist.  She went to her priest who went to a bishop and it took a lot of time (and for dear St. Juliana, a great deal of ridicule and suffering) but eventually it was included in the liturgical calendar as a feast day.

Many countries celebrate this feast day with processions, wherein a priest will bear the monstrance at the head of the crowd around a city or parish church.  Our own parish celebrated with a procession on Sunday and a surprising number of people stayed to participate.

What I love about Corpus Christi is that it celebrates on of my favorite aspects of Catholicism: transubstantiation. I know that's a big word, but it's a BIG deal. As Catholics we believe that, by some miracle of the Holy Spirit, that Jesus Christ is actually, physically present in the form of bread and wine when we celebrate the Eucharist at mass every single Sunday. His essence is miraculously transferred into these hosts - they host his presence - which we then consume. To encounter God so intimately every Sunday is such a rich blessing.

At our parish we are especially blessed to have a Perpetual Adoration Chapel right next to our church. Inside, a monstrance holding a consecrated host - the Eucharist itself, Jesus' real presence - is displayed for adoration and prayer.  It's a wonderful place to visit and pray and spend time with Jesus in His presence.

Wishing you all a blessed week - tune in later for a roundup of some saints!



1. NewAdvent, Catholic Encyclopedia article on the Feast of Corpus Christi accessed 06/05/2013
2. Wikipedia article on Corpus Christi, accessed 06/05/2013
3. TimeandDate article on Corpus Christi, accessed 06/05/2013