The Octave of Corpus Christi being privileged, Feasts are either commemorated only (in which case the appropriate Collect is said after that of the Office) or transferred to after the Octave.
The Feast of Corpus Christi (Latin for Body of Christ), also known as Corpus Domini, is a Latin Rite liturgical solemnity celebrating the tradition and belief in the body and blood of Jesus Christ and his Real Presence in the Eucharist. It emphasizes the joy of the institution of the Eucharist, which was observed on Holy Thursday in the sombre atmosphere of the nearness of Good Friday.
SS Gervase & Protase, Martyrs of Milan, probably in the second century, patrons of the city of Milan and of haymakers; invoked for the discovery of thieves. Feast, in the Latin Church, 19 June, the day of the translation of the relics; in the Greek Church, 14 Oct., the supposed day of their death. Emblems: scourge, club, sword.
The Acts (Acta SS., June, IV, 680 and 29) were perhaps compiled from a letter (Ep. liii) to the bishops of Italy, falsely ascribed to St. Ambrose. They are written in a very simple style, but it has been found impossible to establish their age. According to these, Gervasius and Protasius were twins, children of martyrs. Their father Vitalis, a man of consular dignity, suffered martyrdom at Ravenna under Nero(?). The mother Valeria died for her faith at Milan. The sons are said to have been scourged and then beheaded, during the reign of Nero, under the presidency of Anubinus or Astasius, and while Cajus was Bishop of Milan. Some authors place the martyrdom under Diocletian, while others object to this time, because they fail to understand how, in that case, the place of burial, and even the names, could be forgotten by the time of St. Ambrose, as is stated. De Rossi places their death before Diocletian. It probably occurred during the reign of Antoninus (161-168).
St. Ambrose, in 386, had built a magnificent basilica at Milan. Asked by the people to consecrate it in the same solemn manner as was done in Rome, he promised to do so if he could obtain the necessary relics. In a dream he was shown the place in which such could be found. He ordered excavations to be made in the cemetery church of Sts. Nabor and Felix, outside the city, and there found the relics of Sts. Gervasius and Protasius. He had them removed to the church of St. Fausta, and on the next day into the basilica, which later received the name San Ambrogio Maggiore. Many miracles are related to have occurred, and all greatly rejoiced at the signal favour from heaven, given at the time of the great struggle between St. Ambrose and the Arian Empress Justina. Of the vision, the subsequent discovery of the relics and the accompanying miracles, St. Ambrose wrote to his sister Marcellina. St. Augustine, not yet baptized, witnessed the facts, and relates them in his “Confessions”, IX, vii; in City of God XXII.8; and in “Serm. 286 in natal. Ss. Mm. Gerv. et Prot.”, they are also attested by St. Paulinus of Nola, in his life of St. Ambrose. The latter died 397 and, as he had wished, his body was, on Easter Sunday, deposited in his basilica by the side of these martyrs. In 835, Angilbert II, a successor in the See of Milan, placed the relics of the three saints in a porphyry sarcophagus, and here they were again found, January, 1864 (Civiltà Cattolica, 1864, IX, 608, and XII, 345).
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.
O God, Who gladden us by the annual festival of Your Martyrs, Gervase and Protase, grant that we may be inspired by the example of those in whose merits we rejoice. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. 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” (At the celebrant’s discretion)
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.
Be appeased by the gifts we offer You, O Lord, and through the intercession of Your holy Martyrs, Gervase and Protase, safeguard us from all dangers. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son. Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. 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.
May this Communion, O Lord, cleanse us of sin, and through the intercession of Your holy Martyrs, Gervase and Protase, make us sharers of heavenly salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen.