To process with the Blessed Sacrament, on the Solemnity of the Eucharistic Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ is truly a celebration of faith: expressed in the Real Presence of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and of His Eucharistic presence amongst us in the body of Christ, which is His Church.

The procession is a living witness to our faith and that faith is fed and nourished by the very act of participative solidarity and union with Christ and with one another, bound together as one body. St. Paul in 1 Cor. 12 ff states “as the body is one, having many members, and all the members, while being many, form one body, so it is with Christ, All of us have been baptized in one Spirit to form one body.

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The body may not be divided but rather each member may care for the others. When one suffers, all of them suffer and when one receives honour, all rejoice together.” Today we all rejoice together with the Universal Church as we come to celebrate this very special feast day in the life of the church on the 18th June. It is a feast day where we publicly honour the Risen Eucharistic Jesus by public veneration through our streets, as is customary in innumerable parishes throughout the whole world, since the introduction of the first Corpus Christi procession in 1246. In the words of Pope Francis “Let us go forth, then, let us go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ.

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Here I repeat for the entire Church what I often said to the priests and laity of Buenos Aires. I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security” (Evangelii Gaudium 49) “Being Church means being Gods people. It means proclaiming and bringing Gods salvation into our world, which often goes astray and needs to be encouraged, given hope and strengthened on the way.” (EG 114) On June 18th next we will hold our Corpus Christi procession commencing after the Polish Mass at 2.45 p.m. commencing at St. Conleth’s Parish Church, processing over the bridge and down the riverside to the Dominican Church grounds culminating in Solemn Benediction.

One of the great things about the Corpus Christi procession is that it draws people together from neighbouring parishes, towns and villages as ‘one body’ but most importantly it brings the living Jesus out onto our streets, out of the tabernacle and among the people. This same Jesus who walked with the disciples on the road to Emmaus explaining the scriptures to them as they walked along was only recognised by them at the breaking of the bread having accompanied them on their journey. Now, as then, this same Jesus accompanies us every step of the way in his Eucharistic presence. The procession is therefore primarily about faith in the Real Presence.

In order to be with us, the earthly Jesus first had to offer himself as victim, so that he could permanently remain in the Eucharist. Jesus was not confined then to Palestine but took on a universal, or catholic, dimension under the appearance of bread, where he can be present to everyone, in every corner of the world, just as long as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered. At last years’ Corpus Christi procession in Rome, Pope Francis reminded Catholics of the unique service they offer to their communities and society by restoring the Corpus Christi Eucharistic procession. Let us honour Jesus in Newbridge by active participation on the 18th June. Perhaps parishioners along the route would put out altars and flowers as a mark of respect to the Eucharistic presence of Jesus as He passes by. (Photographs courtesy of Polish Community & Fr. Tadeusz Durajczyk)