This feast is celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday and is the feast where we celebrate the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar – the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ confected in the Roman Canon of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at the most sacred Consecration.
The feast of Corpus Christi commemorates the institution of the Holy Eucharist. Celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, it parallels Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday), which also commemorates Our Lord’s institution of the Eucharist. Because Holy Thursday is in Holy Week, a season of sadness the celebration Corpus Christi was introduced so that the faithful would not lose sight of the institution of the Holy Eucharist.
Corpus Christi became a mandatory feast in the Roman Church in 1312. But nearly a century earlier, Saint Juliana of Mont Cornillon, promoted a feast to honor the Blessed Sacrament. From early age Juliana, who became an Augustinian nun in Liége, France, in 1206, had a great veneration for the Blessed Sacrament, and longed for a special feast in its honor. She had a vision of the Church under the appearance of the full moon having one dark spot, which signified the absence of such a solemnity. She made known her ideas to the Bishop of Liége, Robert de Thorete, to the Dominican Hugh who later became cardinal legate in the Netherlands, and to Jacques Panaléon, at the time Archdeacon of Liége and who later became Pope Urban IV. Bishop Robert de Thorete ordered that the feast be celebrated in his diocese.
Pope Urban IV later published the Papal Bull Transiturus (September 8, 1264), in which, after having extolled the love of Our Savior as expressed in the Holy Eucharist, ordered the annual celebration of Corpus Christi on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. More than four decades later, Pope Clement V published a new decree which embodied Urban IV’s decree and ordered the adoption of the feast at the General Council of Vienna (1311). Pope John XXII, successor of Clement V, urged this observance..
INTROIT Psalm 80: 17
He fed them with the fat of wheat, alleluia; and filled them with honey, out of the rock, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. (Ps. 80: 2) Rejoice in God, our Helper sing aloud to the God of Jacob. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Repeat He fed them……
O God, Who in a wonderful Sacrament hast left unto us the memorial of Thy Passion; grant, we beseech Thee, that we may so venerate the sacred mysteries of Thy Body and Blood as to experience continually within ourselves the fruit of Thy Redemption. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.
Comm. Octave of St Augustine
O God, Who by the preaching and miracles of blessed Augustine, Thy Confessor and Bishop, didst vouchsafe to shed upon the English people the light of the true faith: grant that, thought the intercession , the hearts of the straying may return to the unity of Thy truth, and that we may do Thy will with one accord. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
LESSON 1 Corinthians 11: 23-29
Lesson from the First Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians. Brethren, I have received of the Lord, that which also I delivered to you that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye and eat, this is My Body which shall be delivered for you; this do for the commemoration of Me. In like manner also the chalice, after He had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in My Blood; this do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of Me. For as often as you shall eat this bread and drink this chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord until He come. Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink of the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and the Blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself; and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the Body of the Lord.
GRADUAL/ ALLELUIA Psalm 144: 15, 16
The eyes of all hope in Thee, O Lord, and Thou givest them meat in due season. V. Thou openest Thy hand, and fillest living every creature with Thy blessing. Alleluia, alleluia. V. (John 6: 56) My Flesh is meat indeed and My Blood is drink indeed: he that eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood, abideth in Me, and I in him. Alleluia.
SEQUENCE “Lauda Sion”
Sion, lift up thy voice and sing:
Praise thy Savior and thy King,
Praise with hymns thy shepherd true.
All thou canst, do thou endeavor,
Yet thy praise can equal never
Such as merits thy great King.
See today before us laid
The living and life-giving Bread!
Theme for praise and joy profound!
The same which at the sacred board
Was, by our incarnate Lord,
Giv’n to His Apostles round.
Let the praise be loud and high:
Sweet and tranquil be the joy
Felt today in every breast.
On this festival divine
Which records the origin
Of the glorious Eucharist.
On this table of the King,
Our new Paschal offering
Brings to end the olden rite.
Here, for empty shadows fled,
Is reality instead;
Here, instead of darkness, light.
His own act, at supper seated,
Christ ordain’d to be repeated,
In His memory divine;
Wherefore now, with adoration,
We, the Host of our salvation,
Consecrate from bread and wine.
Hear, what holy Church maintaineth,
That the bread its substance changeth
Into Flesh, the wine to Blood.
Doth it pass thy comprehending?
Faith, the law of sight transcending
Leaps to things not understood,
Here beneath these signs are hidden
Priceless things, to sense forbidden
Signs, not things, are all we see.
Flesh, from bread, and Blood from wine,
Yet is Christ in either sign,
All entire, confessed to be.
They, who of Him here partake,
Sever not, nor rend, nor break:
But, entire, their Lord receive
Whether one or thousands eat,
All receive the self-same meat,
Nor the less for others leave,
Both the wicked and the good
eat of this celestial Food;
But with ends how opposite!
Here ‘t is life:
and there ‘t is death:
The same, yet issuing to each
In a difference infinite.
Nor a single doubt retain,
When they break the Host in twain,
But that in each part remains
What was in the whole before;
Since the simple sign alone
Suffers change in state or form
The signified remaining one
And the same for evermore.
Lo! upon the altar lies,
Hidden deep from human eyes,
Bread of Angels from the skies,
Made the food of mortal man;
Children’s meat to dogs denied,
In old types presignified:
In the manna Heaven-supplied
In Isaac, and the Paschal lamb.
Jesu! Shepherd of the sheep!
Thou Thy flock in safety keep,
Living Bread! Thy life supply:
Strengthen us, or else we die:
Fill us with celestial grace!
Thou, who feedest us below!
Source of all we have or know!
Grant that with Thy Saints above,
Sitting at the feast of love,
We may see Thee face to face.
GOSPEL St. John 6: 56-59
At that time, Jesus said to the multitude of the Jews: “My Flesh is meat indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My Flesh, and drinketh My Blood, abideth in Me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth Me, the same shall also live by Me. This is the Bread that came down from Heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna and are dead. He that eateth this bread shall live forever.”
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Leviticus 21: 6
The priests of the Lord offer incense and loaves to God, and therefore they shall be holy to their God, and shall not defile His Name. Alleluia.
Graciously bestow on Thy Church, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the gifts of unity and peace, which are mystically shown forth in the gifts now offered. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.
Comm. Octave of St Augustine
We offer Thee this sacrifice, O Lord, on the solemn feast of blessed Augustine, Thy Bishop and Confessor, humbly entreating that the sheep which are lost may return to the one fold, and be nourished by this food of salvation. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
PREFACE of the Incarnation
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God, for through the Mystery of the Word made flesh, the new light of Thy glory hath shone upon the eyes of our mind, so that while we acknowledge God in visible form, we may through Him be drawn to the love things invisible. And therefore with Angels and Archangesl, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing the hymn of The glory, evermore saying:
Communicating, and keeping this most holy day, on which the spotless virginity of blessed Mary brought forth a Savior to this world; and also reverencing the memory first of the same glorious Mary, ever Virgin, Mother of the same our God and Lord Jesus Christ: as also of the blessed Apostles and Martyrs Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon, and Thaddeus; Linus, Cletus, Clement, Xystus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian, and of all Thy Saints, through whose merits and prayers, grant that we may in all things be defended by the help of Thy protection. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
COMMUNION ANTIPHON 1 Corinthians 11: 26, 27
As often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall show forth the death of the Lord, until He come: therefore whosoever shall eat this Bread or drink the Chalice of the Lord unworthily shall be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord. Alleluia
Make us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, to be filled with the eternal enjoyment of Thy Divinity, which is prefigured by the reception in this life of Thy precious Body and Blood. Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.
Comm. Octave of St Augustine
We who are refreshed by this saving Victim humbly entreat Thee, O Lord, that though the intercession of blessed Augustine pleading for us, It may continually be offered in every place to the glory of Thy name. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.