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This Sunday we celebrate the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, often known by its Latin name as the feast of Corpus Christi. This feast, which was introduced into the universal Church liturgical calendar by Pope Urban IV in the 13th century, draws our attention to the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

The abiding presence of Jesus with us in the Eucharist is one of the central tenets of our Catholic faith. At Mass we believe that the bread and wine offered are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. We acknowledge this fact when we come to receive Holy Communion. The minister holds up the host and declares “The Body of Christ” to which we in faith answer “Amen” meaning yes I believe this. This is also why we approach and receive Holy Communion with due reverence because we understand that in the moment of receiving Holy Communion Jesus is truly present to us in a most unique manner.

Other devotional practices such as prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction all are based on the belief of Jesus being truly present in the Eucharist and seek to remind us of the wonderful gift that the presence of Jesus in Holy Communion really is. The annual Corpus Christi procession, now largely disappeared, was a very public acknowledgement of this fact.

O Sacrament most holy, O Sacrament divine, All praise and all thanksgiving, Be every moment thine.

Fr. Kieran Coghlan

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