The meaning of the celebration
+ A special liturgical celebration honoring the mystery of the Eucharist was first proposed by Saint Juliana of Mount Cornillon, a Norbertine nun in Belgium.
+ In 1264, Pope Urban IV (who had known Saint Juliana and her friend and confident Blessed Eva of Liege) approved the feast of Corpus Christi and extended the celebration to the Universal Church.
+ At the request of Pope Urban, Saint Thomas Aquinas composed the prayers and hymns used in the Divine Office and Mass for the feast and some of these prayers continue to be used for the celebration even today.
+ Over the centuries the focus of the celebration came to center on the consecrated host of the Mass (so much so that Blessed Pope Pius IX created a separate feast in honor of the Precious Blood of Christ on July 1). However, in the reforms preceding and following the Second Vatican Council, the focus of this solemnity was broadened to again celebrate the fullness of the mystery of Christ’s gift of his Body and Blood and his abiding presence in the Church (see the Collect and Preface for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ).
For prayer and reflection
“Christ gave us his flesh to eat in order to deepen our love for him. When we approach him, then, there should be burning within us a fire of love and longing.”—Saint John Chrysostom
To learn about the religious communities dedicated to the mystery of the Eucharist see the list below.
Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament (Priests and Brothers): www.blessedsacrament.com/vocation
Franciscan Brothers of the Eucharist: www.fbecommunity.org
Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (Clyde, MO): www.benedictinesisters.org
Eucharistic Franciscan Missionary Sisters: www.efmsla.com
Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration: www.fspa.org/showmeasign
Sisters of the Incarnate Word and the Blessed Sacrament (Houston, TX): email email@example.com
Sisters of the Incarnate Word and the Blessed Sacrament (Corpus Christi, TX): www.iwbscc.org
Sisters of the Incarnate Word and the Blessed Sacrament (Victoria, TX): www.iwbsvictoria.org
Sisters of the Incarnate Word and the Blessed Sacrament (Parma, OH): www.incarnatewordorder.org
Dominican Nuns of Corpus Christi Monastery (Menlo Park, CA): www.opnunsmenlo.org
Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of the Blessed Sacrament (Farmington Hills, MI): www.opnuns-fh.org
Dominican Nuns of Corpus Christi Monastery (Bronx, NY): www.opbronx.org
Mercedarian Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (Cleveland, OH): www.mercedariansisters.org
Nuns of the Monastery of Perpetual Adoration (San Francisco, CA): www.adorejesus.org
Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration (Hanceville, AL): www.olamnuns.org
Sacramentine Nuns (Scarsdale, NY): www.sacramentinenuns.org
Servants of the Blessed Sacrament: www.blesacrament.org
Sisters Servants of the Blessed Sacrament: www.sisterservantssjs.org
Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration (Colorado Springs, CA): www.stfrancis.org
Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration (Mishawaka, IN): www.ssfpa.org
Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament: www.katharinedrexel.org
Corpus Christi Carmelite Sisters: www.corpuschristicarmelites.org
Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist: www.sistersofmary.org
Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Eucharist: www.osfholyeucharist.org
O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament
have left us a memorial of your Passion,
grant us, we pray,
so to revere the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood
that we may always experience in ourselves
the fruits of your redemption.
Who live and reign with God the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.