Next Sunday, June 23, the Catholic Church around the world will celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, traditionally known as "Corpus Christi" - Latin for the Body of Christ.
This feast's origins go back to the 13th century and not long after that, a tradition of processing with the Holy Eucharist was started. In many Catholic countries, it has been a regular practice. However, in our own country, it has not been very common to have a Corpus Christi procession. But, a growing number of parishes here in the U.S. are reviving the practice. In fact, Church law promotes such a procession stating, "Wherever in the judgment of the diocesan Bishop it can be done, a procession through the streets is to be held, especially on the solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, as a public witness of veneration of the Blessed Eucharist." (Canon 944, # 1)
And so, we will continue the tradition we started two years ago here at Holy Family and will have a short Eucharistic Procession immediately following the 10:30 am Mass next Sunday.
Parishioners will process behind our Eucharistic Lord Jesus carried in the monstrance under a canopy and accompanied by prayers and song. The monstrance is an elaborate golden vessel that holds the Eucharistic host allowing people to view our Lord Jesus in sacramental form. The procession will take us in front of the church onto Tremont St. to Chestnut St. returning by way of the lower parking lot and ending with Benediction on the lawn beside the church.
It is a way we, as Catholics, can demonstrate to the wider community our faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, and show our devotion and love for Jesus by honoring Him in such a public way. It's also an opportunity to evangelize by bringing Jesus closer to our neighbors, and inviting them to ponder His love for them and the mystery of His Real Presence in the Eucharist.
I hope you will join us for this special event next Sunday, June 23. The procession will begin immediately after the 10:30 Mass. You can still participate in the procession even if you choose to attend another Mass that weekend. Just meet in front of the church at 11:30 am. It will conclude with Benediction, which includes a solemn blessing with the Eucharist upon the people gathered. Afterwards, our Knights of Columbus will host a complimentary barbeque featuring hamburgers and hotdogs. So, bring the family and allow this Corpus Christi procession to be a "teachable moment" and a wonderful way to celebrate our faith and love of Jesus!
God bless you!