Pope Francis will celebrate Mass for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi (otherwise called the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ) at the Altar of the Chair in St Peter’s Basilica on Sunday, 14 June. The ceremony will close with the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction.
Few of the devoted, around fifty people, will take part in the ceremony with the Holy Father. The Mass will be live-streamed by Vatican Media, starting at 9:45 Rome time.
Corpus Christi celebrations with Pope Francis
A year ago, Pope Francis directed at the Mass for Corpus Christi from the steps of Santa Maria Consolatrice Church in Rome’s Casal Bertone neighborhood. The earlier year, the Holy Father celebrated the Solemnity in the square before the parish of Santa Monica in Ostia, outside the city of Rome.
Toward the start of his papacy, from 2013 to 2017, Pope Francis praised the Corpus Christi Liturgy at Rome’s Cathedral, the Archbasilica of St John Lateran, followed by a Eucharistic parade to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major.
Origins of the Solemnity
The Solemnity of Corpus Christi goes back to the 13th century. In Belgium, following the mystical encounters of Saint Juliana de Cornillon, a local feast committed to the Most Holy Eucharist was set up in Liège in 1247.
Quite a long while later, in 1263, a Bohemian minister on pilgrimage to Italy was afflicted by questions about the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. While observing Mass in the town of Bolsena, he encountered a Eucharistic wonder, when a few drops of blood were shed by the broken Host after the consecration. The extremely next year, in 1264, Pope Urban IV broadened the feast of Corpus Christi to the entire Church.
The dogma of the Church
The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ – as it is currently known – praises Jesus generously present in the Blessed Sacrament. The reality of the Real Presence was affirmed in 1215 by the Fourth Lateran Council. Afterward, in 1551, the Council of Trent completely re-affirmed the doctrine in a passage cited verbatim by the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
“Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation”