Corpus Christi 2023: The Christian holiday of Corpus Christi, also known as The Feast of Corpus Christi, is observed yearly on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. It is celebrated to honour the sacred body of Jesus. Also known as Corpus Domini, the festival falls on June 8 this year.
Over time, Corpus Christi gained widespread popularity and became an integral part of the liturgical calendar. It became an occasion for communities to publicly express their faith and devotion, reinforcing the belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
What does ‘Corpus’ stand for in Corpus Christi?
Corpus Christi, meaning "Body of Christ" in Latin, is a Christian feast day that commemorates the belief in the real presence of Jesus Christ's body and blood in the Eucharist or Holy Communion. This article explores the significance, celebration, and historical background of Corpus Christi.
Why is Corpus Christi celebrated?
Historical Background: The origins of Corpus Christi can be traced back to the 13th century. The feast was established in 1264 by Pope Urban IV, following the visions of Saint Juliana of Liège. Saint Juliana, a Belgian nun, experienced recurring visions in which she saw the moon shining with a dark spot, symbolizing the absence of a feast honouring the Eucharist. Inspired by these visions, she shared her concerns with the local bishop and other influential clergy, leading to the establishment of Corpus Christi as a universal feast.
Pope Urban IV, recognizing the significance of Saint Juliana's visions, issued the papal bull "Transiturus" in 1264. This document officially established the feast of Corpus Christi in the Catholic Church, instituting it as a solemnity to be celebrated annually on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday.
What is the significance of Corpus Christi?
Corpus Christi holds deep significance within the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations that observe the Eucharist as a sacrament. It is a celebration of the profound belief in the presence of Jesus Christ's body and blood in the consecrated bread and wine. This feast day allows believers to express their adoration, faith, and gratitude for the sacrifice of Christ.
Corpus Christi is celebrated with great devotion and joy, often involving elaborate processions, special Masses, and public displays of faith. The celebration typically occurs on the Thursday following Trinity Sunday, which falls 60 days after Easter Sunday. It serves as an opportunity for believers to publicly profess their faith in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
How is Corpus Christi celebrated?
One of the central features of Corpus Christi is the Eucharistic procession. The Blessed Sacrament, usually placed in a monstrance, is carried in a solemn procession through the streets. This act symbolizes Jesus' journey from the Last Supper to his crucifixion. Participants, often dressed in liturgical attire, follow the procession, singing hymns, offering prayers, and demonstrating reverence for the presence of Christ.
During Mass, special readings and prayers focus on the Eucharist. The consecrated hosts believed to be the body of Christ, are displayed and worshipped. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is practised, allowing believers to spend time in prayerful contemplation and adoration of Jesus' presence.
Today, Corpus Christi is celebrated not only in Catholic churches but also in various Christian denominations that believe in the sacramental nature of the Eucharist. The feast continues to inspire believers to reflect on the central mystery of their faith, fostering a deep sense of reverence and adoration for the body and blood of Christ.