Fr. Brian Trueman
Corpus Christi Procession: “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
As I mentioned in my homily last Sunday, the bishop will be doing his pastoral visit with us in September, to coincide with our 35th anniversary. The very first Mass of the South St. Vital Catholic Community took place on September 11th in the gymnasium of St. Germain school. The Eucharist is truly the “source and summit” of the Christian life and of the life of our parish family.
With this in mind, I wish to inform you that we shall be having our first Eucharistic Procession for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi after the 11am Mass. It parallels the celebration on Holy Thursday in commemoration of the institution of this sacrament. 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. Eucharistic Processions became more prominent as the worship of the Eucharist outside of the Mass grew in popular devotions and as the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist became more of a central focus of theological study. In the 13th century, when the Solemnity of Corpus Christi was established for the universal Church, Eucharistic Processions quickly became a part of that celebration. Over the following centuries, Eucharistic Processions spread more and more throughout the Church.
A Eucharistic Procession, just like Eucharistic Adoration, is an extension of the worship of Jesus Christ, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. The supreme act of adoration and the source and summit of the Christian life is the celebration of the Mass, and that celebration is prolonged and intensified through Eucharistic worship outside of Mass. In Eucharistic Processions, the missionary aspect of the Eucharist is emphasized as we go forth into the world. Not only gazing upon our Eucharistic Lord, but walking with him, we experience what the disciples did 2000 years ago, proclaiming the Good News to the world. A parish community that undertakes a Eucharistic Procession has made the decision to publicly proclaim its belief in Jesus’ True Presence in the Eucharist. By this public witness of faith, the parish invites people in the community to encounter the Risen Lord present in the Eucharistic Host. For those who participate in the procession, it is an opportunity not only to proclaim their faith but also to grow in their faith. The procession is, finally, an invitation to Jesus himself to be a part of our daily lives, to be immersed in the world in which we live.
After the reception of Communion, instead of the ordinary Blessing and Dismissal at the end of Mass, the Blessed Sacrament will be placed in a Monstrance. A procession with altar servers will then form as the priest brings the Monstrance to join them, followed by the rest of the faithful. For this year, we shall simply have a small procession, not in the streets, but just around our property and parking lot. At each entrance of the church in each direction, we will have a small altar set up as a station where we shall sing and pray a bit, and then continue walking until we’ve gone around the building. We will end our Eucharistic Procession with Benediction and Divine Praises where we began, in the church. Following this, we will have a time of food, fellowship, and refreshments in the hall to celebrate the occasion, which will also be a special occasion for our parish children who will have received their First Holy Communion at the Mass that Sunday with their families.
I invited you to join us for our first ever parish Eucharistic Procession for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, on June 11th, at the end of our final Sunday Mass (11am). Even if you come to the other two Masses (4pm or 9am), you can always come back for the end of the 11am Mass around 11:50 or so to take part in the procession and fellowship after in the hall.
“We entrust these streets, these homes, our daily life, to his goodness. May our streets be streets of Jesus! May our houses be homes for him and with him! May our life of every day be penetrated by his present.” Pope Benedict XVI, Homily on Corpus Christi, 26 May 2005
I am, in our Lord, yours.
Fr. Brian Trueman
“The Corpus Christi procession,” Arcadi Mas i Fondevila (1887)