Corpus Christi Mass, Procession and Benediction

Corpus ChristiThe full name of this feast is Corpus et Sanguis Christi or The Body and Blood of Christ. “The feast of the Blessed Sacrament was established in 1246 by Bishop Robert de Thorte of Liege at the suggestion of St. Juliana of Mont Carvillon. [It was] extended to the universal Church by Pope Urban in 1264. The office composed by St. Thomas Aquinas and customary procession was approved by Popes Martin V and Eugene IV. Celebrated in June, the first Sunday after the feast of the Trinity.” (Modern Catholic Dictionary)

This coming Corpus Christi, 22nd June, the Ordinariate parish of the Most Holy Family, is having a Mass in honour of the Feast, followed by a Eucharistic Procession just around the church in Heyfield, with adoration and Benediction following the procession.  We do not have all the accouterments yet, still looking for a canopy, and our numbers are small,  The then Msgr Peter Elliott, now Bishop Peter, compiled a guide to Eucharistic Procession (can be found here).

Because of locality, and permissions etcetera we have modified the procession:

1. The priest first celebrates Mass, during which he consecrates two hosts. After he has consumed one at his communion he exposes the other in the monstrance to be used in the procession. The part of the monstrance which holds the host should be enclosed with glass so that the host is visible to the worshippers. When Mass is over and the procession has begun (the priest, vested in white cope, kneels and incenses the Blessed Sacrament with a threefold incensation.

2. After the Mass on Corpus Christi, all kneel and sing a suitable hymn. The Host is incensed, and carried under an ombrellino (an umbrella-like canopy) to the baldacchino, a rectangular tent-like canopy that is rather like a Jewish chuppah.

3. Then the server places a humeral veil over the priest’s shoulders. Having covered both hands with the ends of the veil, the priest reverently receives the monstrance from the deacon.  Then the procession forms, led by the server. Then comes the Blessed Sacrament, carried at eye-level by a priest (with his hands veiled) in a monstrance. The people walk behind.

Four stops are made, and at each come Gospel readings, prayer, and a Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

 Readings and Prayers for the Corpus Christi Procession

The First Station

A reading from the Gospel according to St. John (6:47-51)

Jesus said to the Jews: Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eats this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.

V.    The Gospel of the Lord.

R.    Praise to You Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us pray.

Lord Jesus Christ, we ask that Your blessing be upon Your Church, so that Your people and Your ministries may serve You in this most august Sacrament of the Altar with ever deeper reverence and love, and that, united with You, Who are the Bread of life, we may live with You in heaven, You Who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

The Second Station

The Gospel according to St. Mark (6:34;39-44)

Jesus saw a great throng, and He had compassion on them for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things. Then He commanded them all to sit down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. And taking five loaves and two fish He looked up to heaven and blessed and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people; and He divided the two fish among them all. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.

V.    The Gospel of the Lord.

R.    Praise to You Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us pray.

Lord Jesus Christ, we ask you to look with compassion upon Your people who are like sheep without a shepherd, especially on those who have not yet accepted the full truth of Your teaching in Your Catholic Church. Through Your blessing may they have the grace to enter into communion with Your Sacred Body and Blood, You Who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

The Third Station

The Gospel according to St. Matthew (26:26-29)

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.”

V.    The Gospel of the Lord.

R.    Praise to You Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us pray.

Lord Jesus Christ, we ask that Your blessing may be upon the souls of our parishioners who have passed away, and upon the souls of all Your faithful departed, that through Your mercy they may all enter into the peace of your heavenly kingdom, where You live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.

The Fourth Station

The Gospel according to St. Luke (24:28-35).

[The two disciples] constrained Him saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So He went in to stay with them. When He sat at table with them, He took bread and blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized Him and He vanished from their sight. They said to one another, “Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked to us on the road, while He opened to us the Scriptures?” And they arose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them, who said, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what happened along the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

V.    The Gospel of the Lord.

R.    Praise to You Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us pray.

Lord Jesus Christ, we ask Your blessing upon the families of this parish, so that You grant the grace of many vocations to the priesthood and the religious life, and that there be many holy families who heroically live as witnesses to Your Sacred Presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament, You Who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

All march with bared heads, holding lighted candles.

4. At the end of the procession when the Blessed Sacrament has been brought back to the church and placed on the altar, all kneel in reverent adoration and Benediction begins

Next year we will have the canopy, and God willing, acolytes, servers, and others to show our love for Our Lord, in the Sacrament, in a very public way.

Feast of Corpus Christi: Mass: 10am: St Michael’s Heyfield.

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