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.
The Holy Martyrs Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia the Nursemaid, suffered for Christ during the reign of emperor Diocletian (284-305). The holy Martyr Vitus was son of an illustrious Sicilian dignitary, the pagan Gelas. While still a young lad, Saint Vitus was enflamed with an ardent love for the Lord Jesus Christ and he prayed incessantly to Him. The Lord gave him the grace of wonderworking. He healed the sick and converted many pagans to Christ. Learning about this, the governor Valerian summoned Gelas and advised him to turn his son away from faith in Christ; and how that were the emperor at some time to issue an edict for the persecution of Christians, not only the lad, but all the household of Gelas would suffer. But Gelas was not able to persuade Saint Vitus and he began to beat the lad. The governor Valerian learned that Saint Vitus had refused to offer sacrifice to the gods, and summoned him to trial before him. The holy lad firmly confessed his faith before the court and unconditionally refused to offer sacrifice to idols. They beat him again. When the governor, giving the signal for increasing the torture, lifted his hand, it immediately withered. The governor received healing through the prayer of the saint and, dissolving the trial, he gave back the holy lad to Gelas, having commanded that he not turn him away from faith in Christ.
In order to corrupt his son in fleshly sin, Gelas surrounded him in luxury, and brought pretty girls to him. They filled him with tasty food, arranged banquets and entertainment, but the expected results were not forthcoming. Saint Vitus did not cease to pray, and he asked God’s help in temptations. Angels appeared to him and prayed with him. When Gelas went took his son and glanced at the Angels, he immediately went blind. Gelas gave a vow to recant from idols, and Saint Vitus healed him. But, stubborn of heart, Gelas did not keep his vow. Paternal love for his son turned to hatred for him, and he decided to kill him. In order to save the boy, his tutor Saint Modestus and his nurse Saint Crescentia – who were Christians, secretly took him from his parental home. At the river they saw a boat. An Angel went into the boat together with them and they reached the Italian district of Lucanium, where the saints lived quietly – hidden away from torturers. The holy lad never ceased to heal the sick and he converted pagans to Christianity. Here also news about him spread about.
Saints Vitus and Modestus went to present themselves before Diocletian. Taken with the fine appearance of the lad, he at first urged him to offer sacrifice to idols. The holy lad denounced senseless idol-worship and he healed a demoniac son of Diocletian. The emperor offered Saint Vitus great honours, fame and riches – on the condition that he recant from the Christian faith. The lad refused and with his former courage he confessed himself a Christian. They locked him up in prison together with Saint Modestus. When Jesus Christ appeared to the prisoners – strengthening them in their deed and giving His help, the fetters fell from their hands. Ascribing the miracle to magic, Diocletian gave command to throw Saint Vitus into a cauldron of boiling oil. The saint stood in it, as though in cool water, and remained unharmed. Then a fierce lion was set loose at him. The lad signed himself with the sign of the cross, and the beast peacefully lied down at his feet and began to lick his foot. They hung the holy martyrs on pillars and began to rip at them with iron claws. Saint Crescentia came out of the crowd of spectators, confessed herself a Christian and reproached the emperor for his cruelty. He sentenced her also to torture. Saint Vitus called out to God: “O God, save us by Thy power and deliver us”. An earthquake started. Many pagans perished under the collapsed buildings, and Diocletian in fear fled to his chambers. An Angel released the martyrs from the pillars and took them to Lucanium. The holy Martyr Vitus prayed to God, that He would accept their souls in peace and not deprive His benefaction from all, who would keep their memory. From Heaven came a Voice: “Thy prayer is heard”. The saints with joy gave up their souls to God. The sufferings of the holy Martyrs Vitus, Modestus and Crescentia occurred in about the year 303. The memory of these saints is celebrated also on 16 May. The relics of Saint Vitus were transferred to Prague (Praha). Holy Nobleborn prince Vyacheslav of the Czechs (Comm. 28 September) constructed a temple in honour of the holy Martyr Vitus, in which he was afterwards buried.
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. R. Amen.
Commemoratio Ss. Viti, Modesti atque Crescentiae Martyrum
Grant O Lord, we pray, that through the intercession of thy Holy Martyrs Vitus, Modestus and Crescentia, thy Church be not high-minded, but grow in that humility which is pleasing to thee, so that despising evil, she may practice whatever is good with unbounded charity. 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” (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. R. Amen.
Commemoratio Ss. Viti, Modesti atque Crescentiae Martyrum
As the gifts, we offer in honour of thy Saints, O Lord, bear witness to the glory of thy divine power; so may they win for us the benefits of thy 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:
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. R. Amen.
Commemoratio Ss. Viti, Modesti atque Crescentiae Martyrum
We, who have been filled with thy solemn blessing, ask, O Lord, that, through the intercession of thy holy Martyrs Vitus, Modestus and Crescentia, this healing sacrament may benefit both our bodies and our souls. 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