The Feast of Corpus Christi in the Church and at Western Academy.
For over twelve centuries since the beginning of the Church, the day when the Holy Eucharist was especially honored was Holy Thursday, but in August of 1264 Pope Urban IV decided that we needed more than just one major feast day per year to express our gratitude to the Lord for such a great gift.
In a document entitled "Transiturus de hoc mundo" ("when he was about to go from this world") the Holy Father established for the Universal Church the Feast of the Holy Body and Blood of Christ -Corpus Christi- to be celebrated each year on the Thursday after the feast of the Holy Trinity.
In many places all over the world the feast of Corpus Christi has traditionally been celebrated by taking the Blessed Sacrament on a solemn procession through the streets of the city.
Sadly, because of religious and political conflicts, this ancient tradition was lost in many countries, but in recent years it has been brought back to life. In the Netherlands, for instance, the traditional procession was prohibited in 1578, when Dutch political leaders joined the Reformation, but just 11 years ago, after a wait of 426 years, a Eucharistic Procession was seen again in the streets of Amsterdam during this great feast in 2004. Also in Communist Russia the procession was forbidden for 93 years, and was brought back in St. Petersburg in 2011. Many cities throughout the world, including some parishes in our own diocese, have an annual procession.
On August 11 of 1264, Pope Urban wrote: "Therefore, to strengthen and exalt the Catholic Faith, we decree that, besides the daily memory that the Church makes of this Sacrament, there be celebrated a more solemn and special annual memorial. Then let the hearts and mouths of all break forth in hymns of saving joy; then let faith sing, hope dance, charity exult, devotion applaud, the choir be jubilant, and purity delight. Then let each one with willing spirit and prompt will come together, laudably fulfilling his duties, celebrating the Solemnity of so great a Feast."
And that is exactly what we mean to do. We want Western Academy to rejoice with the whole Church again with this beautiful and ancient tradition. We will have a Corpus Christi Procession on campus on Friday, May 3 at 1:30pm. All families and friends are invited.