Friday 24 June 2011

Corpus Christi in Rome

I have returned from the Adoratio Conference in Rome with the joyful and invigorating knowledge that in my liturgical thinking and practice I am in tune with at least six Bishops, five Cardinals and one Pope!

The Conference was timed to finish with our joining the Holy Father for Mass for the Feast of Corpus Christi in the Cathedral of Rome, the Basilica of St. John Lateran, and taking part in the Blessed Sacrament Procession which finished with Benediction on the steps of St Mary Major.

It was great! We just don't seem to have anything like this here in England. Although Fr Alexander Sherbrooke at St Patrick's in Soho Square tells me they are processing the Blessed Sacrament right through the middle of Soho this week! I recall a Blessed Sacrament Procession through the streets of Liverpool being suggested for the Jubilee Year of 2000 but sadly nothing came of it.

Two of the Deacons from the Community of the Most Holy Eucharist who were at the conference assisted at Mass and Benediction.

Churches, convents, shops and homes hang out flags, flowers banners, statues and other decoration to honour Our Lord's Real Presence as the Blessed Sacrament goes along the one mile route. This was a particularly impressive one outside the Franciscan church.

Some of the brethren setting off from the Salesianum for the Mass and Procession.

The clergy in choir were seated in one of the transepts. I snapped this quick pic as the Holy Father incensed the altar just before the start of Mass, and then put the camera away, as it looks a little indecorous to be waving the mobile phone all through the Holy Sacrifice!

Just SOME of the priests in the procession!

Arriving in front of St Mary Major's.

The Holy Father explained the meaning of the event:

“While Holy Thursday commemorates the mystery of Christ who gives us the bread and wine, today, on the feast of Corpus Christi, the same mystery is proposed to the People of God to worship Him and think about Him.”
In his homily, the Holy Father explained that the Holy Eucharist comes from a profound act of love of God, saying communion creates bonds among recipients.

“Eucharistic Communion unites one with the person their side, you may not get along, but also unites us to those who are far away, in anyplace in the world. Hence, from the Eucharist, comes the deep sense of social work of the Church.”
After the Mass, the Holy Father accompanied the Eucharist in a procession that was almost a mile long through the streets of Rome.

With him were the cardinals and bishops of the Roman Curia as well as thousands of romans & visitors to the eternal city.

Our beloved Holy Father was on his knees for most of the journey (once again teaching by his example!). We processed along the Via Merulana from the Basilica of St. John Lateran to that of Saint Mary Major where the Holy Father gave Benediction to the faithful who knelt on the cobbled streets. Only after the Blessed Sacrament had been taken into the basilica was the pontiff greeted by rapturous applause and loud chants from the young people shouting out:

"Viva il Papa!"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

God reward you a hundredfold for these beautiful posts, Father! They are balm for my heart and soul!!