Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to His disciples and said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks He gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it all of You; for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Matthew 26:26-29
Sunday, June 10, 2012, the Little Sisters of the Poor, Residents, and visitors celebrated the Feast of Corpus Christi (Body and Blood of Christ) by having a procession and Benediction.
The feast has its roots in the 13th century. St. Juliana, a religious nun urged her bishop to begin a celebration of the Eucharist so the faithful would deepen their love for Christ despite a very secular society. Less than twenty years later, in1264, Pope Urban declared this celebration a feast.
Today having a Corpus Christi procession is a way that Catholics show their love for Jesus in the Eucharist in a public way. Parishioners, Knights of Columbus, Deacons, and Priests will walk around the neighborhood in procession with the Blessed Sacrament. They will stop at three decorated altars which represent the four corners of the earth. At each altar special prayers are said following a blessing with the monstrance. The final altar is in the church.
At St. Joseph’s Home, our procession was lead by Sister Marguerite. Eucharistic hymns were sang as Residents, sisters, and visitors solemnly processed around the church and then down a long hallway to the first altar. A young child threw rose petals to honor the Eucharistic Christ. After prayers and benediction led by Deacon Tom Dunne, the procession continued in song, with another stop, and finally back into the chapel. At that time Residents and visitors joined the Little Sisters in singing the Divine Office, or Liturgy of the Hours’ Evening Prayer. The service concluded with Benediction and the singing of Holy God We Praise Thy Name.
Pope Benedict, in 2008, described the Corpus Christi procession as “gathering, walking and kneeling… we gather around the altar of the Lord, we walk with the Lord and we kneel before the Lord in adoration.”
A beautiful Chalice and Host made by Sr. Soana, out of Roses, was placed in front of the altar.