Q & A: Procession for the Feast of Corpus Christi

What does “Corpus Christi” mean?

The words “Corpus Christi” mean “Body of Christ” and are another name for the “Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ” celebrated on the Sunday after Trinity Sunday. This solemnity emphasizes the doctrine of Christ’s real presence—body, blood, soul, and divinity—in the Eucharist. 

What happens at a Corpus Christi procession?

A priest places the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance (a sacred vessel that displays the holy host to the faithful). Then, it is carried out of the church and through the neighborhood streets, accompanied by the people’s songs and prayers, with stops for prayer before returning to the church of origin for benediction. 

What is the significance of the canopy? 

The canopy is a square or rectangular cloth covering for the Blessed Sacrament used during the procession. Four or more people carry it. The canopy, while not strictly required, adds dignity to the procession by making a sacred space for the Eucharist throughout the procession. It is reminiscent of the tent of the Lord’s presence where the Ark of the Covenant was kept while the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years after leaving Egypt. 

What does “walking in procession” symbolize?

The Corpus Christi procession symbolizes our desire to “walk with Jesus” into the streets of our world, putting the Gospel into action. It demonstrates our willingness to stand in unity against all social injustices in the world: hunger, homelessness, racism, poverty, educational disparities, lack of sufficient healthcare, etc. Bringing Christ’s presence into our streets reminds us of the inherent God-given dignity of all human life.

Is it true that the Eucharist transforms us?

Yes. St. Augustine reminds us that “we become what we receive.”   Through the Eucharist, we become like the Risen Christ, following in His steps of love, mercy, and compassion. With a heart and soul transformed by the Risen Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, we can begin to do His work in our world as the Body of Christ we are called to be. Let this procession be the next step in your personal faith journey with God. The Risen Christ, present in the Eucharist, is waiting with open arms to receive us; with those same open arms, we walk out into our world. 

All are welcome to join the hospitality and fellowship reception at St. Paul Church immediately following the conclusion of Benediction.  You may also consider participating in other parish ministry programs to deepen your relationship with Christ: our monthly Evening Prayer Services and Bible Study Groups for Men and Women, to name a few. Please see our parish website www.isidoreandmaria.org, for the complete list of ministry programs.