Meeting Christ in the Liturgy

The Solemnity of CORPUS CHRISTI


The annual procession on the feast of Corpus Christi, or on an appropriate day near this feast, is desirable. See Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside of Mass, 102 (21 June 1973). The procession follows the Prayer after Communion and may include stops at one, two or three altars outside of the Church for readings, benediction and hymns and concludes in the Church with final benediction, a hymn and dismissal of the people.

Select liturgy here
Corpus Christi YEAR A 2002, 2005, 2008
Corpus Christi YEAR B 2003, 2006, 2009
Corpus Christi YEAR C 2004, 2007, 2010


Deut 8, 2-3. 14-16; Psalm 147; 1 Corinthians 10, 16-17; John 6, 51-58

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

"Oh Sacrament most holy, oh Sacrament divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment thine."

We celebrate today the greatest gift our Lord has left us: His Body and Blood in the Eucharist. Today after Mass we will adore our Lord, in union with the Church everywhere, with the customary procession and benediction for the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, or, in Latin, "Corpus Christi". Our Holy Father Benedict in Rome has asked us to celebrate this feast with care and correctness during this Year of the Eucharist. The instructions of the Church are clear: a procession is to be held on this day at the principal Mass of the parish church or local community. In this way we witness publicly to our faith in Jesus truly and substantially present in the Eucharist and invite all the word to salvation in Him.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) we read:
“The holy Eucharist completes Christian initiation. Those who have been raised to the dignity of the royal priesthood by Baptism and configured more deeply to Christ by Confirmation participate with the whole community in the Lord's own sacrifice by means of the Eucharist." (CCC 1322).

The CCC quotes from the teachings of Vatican II when it says in paragraph 1323: "At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet 'in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.' "

The Church teaches that the Eucharist is "the source and summit of the Christian life." (CCC 1324) This means that, because Christ is really, truly and substantially present in the Eucharist, we recognize that all the graces we enjoy as Catholic Christians come from this great Sacrament, and all we aspire to, the fullness of the life of God, is contained in this Sacrament.

“Because God is present in the Sacrament, we have the duty to render all praise, adoration and reverence to Him. The Church has faithfully celebrated the Eucharist from the beginning according to the Lord's command, in particular each Sunday, the day of His Resurrection. As early as the second century we have the witness of St. Justin Martyr for the basic lines of the order of the Eucharistic celebration, when he wrote to a pagan emperor to explain Christian worship, around the year 155. They have stayed the same until our own day.” (CCC 1345).

During this Year of the Eucharist we are exhorted by our Holy Father Benedict to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi with particular care. He mentioned that the correctness of our celebration is important. This means that we should look with attention to the liturgical directives, whether the rubrics for the Mass of Corpus Christi or the General Instruction of the Roman Missal to know what particular actions or preparations are required for a worthy offering of this or any other liturgical celebration.

The lay faithful are called upon to assist their pastors in the preparation and celebration of liturgies so that they may be truly expressive of the people of God. Each minister undertakes his own proper role for the good of all. Whether helping to carry the canopy over the Blessed Sacrament in the procession, publicizing the event, preparing flowers or music, or acting in the roles of acolyte or cantor. There is plenty to be done to insure that the Lord may be glorified and his people be blessed with a spirit of joy. The recently Confirmed and First Communicants can be invited to participate in special garb. The acolytes of the parish can all participate dressed in their own liturgical vesture. As well, special music can be prepared and practiced with the people so that all will be able to actively participate. The deacons and priests of the parish should all be invited to join the procession.
Let us take our faith in the Eucharistic Lord to the streets and spread the joy of salvation in the Lord, who said, “I will be with you always”.

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy" -Father Cusick
(Copy with permission only.)

Corpus Christi YEAR B


Exodus 24:3-8; Psalm 116; Hebrews 9, 11-15; Mark 14, 12-16. 22-26

"O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment thine!"

What is the one thing most necessary in life?
What is the one thing for which you spend the most time, money and effort?

Authentic Christianity brings unity and integrity to living. Profession of faith in Christ requires integrity between one's words and actions. Idolatry brings conflict into the life of man, such that he is divided between God, the one thing necessary, and false gods, all those things which replace God in his day to day life.

In order to survive with faith intact and to live the truths of faith, Christian men and women today must fight against the idolatries of career, money, materialism, in short, "having it all." Of all the things we "have" do we place first that which alone will last?

Persons beyond counting have chased after fame, only to have it elude their grasp. Others have given all in search of wealth only to find they had purchased many things but were dissatisfied without the "pearl of great price".. Some have burned themselves out pursuing pleasure divorced from authentic love and then fallen into the despair brought by emptiness and loneliness.

And some have triumphed over the world by giving body and soul for the one thing necessary: the Lord Jesus Christ. The martyrs are signs to the world of the madness of laying down one's life, the supreme offering of love, in order to take it up again in heavenly glory. There are more martyrs for the faith in our own century than any preceding it. Most recent among these are 17 Catholic schoolchildren with their teaching sister in Zaire who, as witnesses to Christ's love, refused to reveal their tribal identities to murderous agents of genocide and as a result offered their lives for Christ.

All martyrdom comes from a heroic faith whereby man professes Christ as the one thing necessary. By the virtues of hope and charity the Christian imitates the Lord, even unto laying down his life if called by God. The martyrs of today take a glorious place among the great host of witnesses beginning with St. Stephen and the Roman Martyrs. How did these men and women find the power and the strength to choose God's will as Christ did and to lay down their lives? A little child leads us. The young boy St.Tarcisius was bearing the Eucharist to the sick in ancient Rome and chose to die rather than surrender the Body of the Lord to his ancient pagan persecutors. He is one of the many patrons of the Eucharist who witness to us of its inexhaustible treasures of grace which serve to strengthen us when called to witness to God's sovereignty.

It is in the death of the Lord himself that all the martyrs have found their greatest source of strength. The Eucharist is the great memorial of the Lord's passion and death. Much more, the risen Easter Christ is present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity therein. The Blessed Sacrament is the most effective source of God's grace by which we live as witnesses for generosity among the selfish, for reverence among the irreverent, for faith among the doubting, for hope among the despairing and for heroic love among the murderous and hateful.

"In an ancient prayer the Church acclaims the mystery of the Eucharist: 'O sacred banquet in which Christ is received as food, the memory of his Passion is renewed, the soul is filled with grace and a pledge of the life to come is given to us.' If the Eucharist is the memorial of the Passover of the Lord Jesus, if by our communion at the altar we are filled "with every heavenly blessing and grace,' (Roman Canon: supplices te rogamus) then the Eucharist is also an anticipation of heavenly glory." (CCC 1402)

Today after Mass we will adore our Lord, in union with the universal Church, with the customary procession and benediction for the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, or, in Latin, "Corpus Christi". By this public act of praise and adoration we call the whole world to fall down in homage before the Savior, most humbly and sacrificially present in the sacred host.

What is the one thing most necessary? Jesus Christ truly present in the Eucharist. Will you spend one hour with him this week?

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy", Father Cusick

(Publish with permission.)

(For further reading on the Eucharist in the Catechism of the Catholic Church see paragraphs 1322 and following.)

  Corpus Christi YEAR C

Genesis 14:18-20; Psalm 110,; 1 Cor 11, 23-26; St. Luke 9. 11-17

In his celebration of the "Lord's Supper" the Lord prefigures and fulfills his sacrifice, also giving the means for celebrating the Passover of Passovers, the Resurrection, every Sunday, through the offering of the Eucharistic Sacrifice and the worship and adoration of the Lord's Body and Blood.

Jesus rose from the dead "on the first day of the week." (Cf. Mt 28:1; Mk 16:2; k 24:1; Jn 20:1.)...For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord's Day (he kuriake hemera, dies dominica)- Sunday. (CCC 2174)

The celebration of Sunday observes the moral commandment inscribed by nature in the human heart to render to God an outward, visible, public, and regular worship "as a sign of his universal beneficence to all." (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 122, 4.) Sunday worship fulfills the moral command of the Old Covenant, taking up its rhythm and spirit in the weekly celebration of the Creator and Redeemer of his people. (CCC 2176)

The Lord, present really, truly and substantially, is encountered in the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist.

The Sunday celebration of the Lord's Day and his Eucharist is at the heart of the Church's life. "Sunday is the day on which the paschal mystery is celebrated in light of the apostolic tradition and is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church." (CIC, can. 1246, art. 1.) (CCC 2177)

It is in keeping with the very meaning of the Eucharist that the faithful, if they have the required dispositions, receive communion each time they participate in the Mass. (Cf. CIC, can 917; AAS 76 (1984) 746-747.) As the Second Vatican Council says: "That more perfect form of participation in the Mass whereby the faithful, after the priest's communion, receive the Lord's Body from the same sacrifice, is warmly recommended." (SC 55.) (CCC 1388)

The Church obliges the faithful "to take part in the Divine Liturgy on Sundays and feast days" and, prepared by the sacrament of Reconciliation, to receive the Eucharist at least once a year, if possible during the Easter season. (OE 15; CIC, can. 920.) But the Church strongly encourages the faithful to receive the holy Eucharist on Sundays and feast days, or more often still, even daily. (CCC 1389)

Since Christ is sacramentally present under each of the species, communion under the species of bread alone makes it possible to receive all of the Eucharistic grace. For pastoral reasons this manner of receiving communion has been legitimately established as the most common form in the Latin rite. But "the sign of communion is more complete when given under both kinds, since in that form the sign of the Eucharistic meal appears more clearly." (GIRM 240) This is the usual form of receiving communion in the Eastern rites. (CCC 1390)

Looking forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy", Father Cusick

(Publish with permission.)

(For further reading on the Eucharist in the Catechism of the Catholic Church see paragraphs 1391 and following.)