The Procession on the Feast of Corpus Christi

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The Procession on the Feast of Corpus Christi

When the Blessed Sacrament is carried to one or more altars of repose, to testify publicly our faith in the presence of Our Lord in the Adorable Sacrament of the Altar.

The festival of Corpus Christi (the body of Christ) is on the Thursday following Trinity Sunday, consequently in the second week after Pentecost, because soon after the descent of the Holy Ghost the apostlea began to dispense holy communion to the faithful. This festival was instituted some six centuries ago. It was first celebrated in Belgium, by order of the Bishop of Liege, in consequence of a revelation made to a nun, Blessed Juliana (1250), and shortly after Pope Urban IV. decreed that it should be kept throughout the whole Church. In this procession the sacred Host is carried in a monstrance beneath a canopy, flowers are strewn on the way, and censers swung; the altars of repose are beautifully decorated with lights and flowers in honor of the Blessed Sacrament. In some places four altars are erected, and a pause is made at each, and one of the accounts of the institution of the Blessed Sacrament given by the four Evangelists is read. The four altars signify the four quarters of the world. After the reading of the Gospel, a prayer is added for protection against lightning and tempest, and for a good harvest. This solemn ceremony, which is generally terminated by the Te Deum in the church, cannot fail to impress every beholder. and lead the non-Catholic to inquire what it is towards which such profound reverence and veneration is displayed.

Corpus Christi

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Corpus Christi

The Liturgical Year
Dom Prosper Gueranger, 1870

The grand Feast has, at length, dawned upon us; and everything is speaking of the triumph of faith and love. During the feast of the Ascension, when commenting those words of our Lord: It is expedient to you that I go (St. John, xvi. 7), we were saying, that the withdrawal of the visible presence of the Man-God from the eyes of men on earth, would bring among them, by the vivid operation of the Holy Ghost, a plenitude of light and a warmth of love which they had not had for their Jesus, during His mortal career among them; the only creature, that had rendered to Him, in her single self, the whole of those duties which the Church afterwards paid him, was Mary, who was all illumined with faith.
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