Thursday, June 19, 2014


Procession (Amadeo de Souza Cardoso- Portugal -1913)
Last year at this time I was once again in Piura, Peru, and was able to see the Catholic youth of that city  in Procession for the feast of CORPUS CHRISTI. Each College within the Uni had its own "station" decorated with flowers and set up with an altar where there would be brief Adoration. While it was already summer here, it was winter there so the whole process was by candle light- thousands of candles lighting the darkness. My friend and I who partook of that solemn, lovely night, were most impressed with the devotion of Peru's young  and old.

For centuries after the celebration was extended to the universal Church, the feast was also celebrated with a Eucharistic procession, in which the Sacred Host was carried throughout the town, accompanied by hymns and litanies. The faithful would venerate the Body of Christ as the procession passed by. While it is still  celebrated in our monastery, this practice has almost disappeared in recent years in our own country, though some parishes still hold a brief procession around the outside of the parish church.

Corpus Christi Procession (Jack P. Hanlon, Ireland 1943)

The Feast of Corpus Christi, or the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, goes back to the 13th century, but it celebrates something far older: the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Communion at the Last Supper. While Holy Thursday is also a celebration of this mystery, the solemn nature of Holy Week, and the focus on Christ's Passion on Good Friday, overshadows that aspect of Holy Thursday.

St. Thomas Aquinas composed the Office (the official prayers of the Church) for the feast, which is widely considered one of the most beautiful in the traditional Roman Breviary. It is the source of the famous Eucharistic hymns "Pange Lingua Gloriosi", "Lauda Sion" and "Tantum Ergo Sacramentum."

Gerald Cassidy (New Mexico-1934)
Jesus, Shepherd mild and meek,
shield the poor, support the weak;
help all who Thy pardon sue,
placing all their trust in You:
fill them with Your healing grace!
Source of all we have or know,
feed and lead us here below.
grant that with Your Saints above,
sitting at the feast of love
we may see You face to face.
Amen. Alleluia. (last verse "Lauda Sion")

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