Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ

06-06-2021Pastor's LetterFr. John C. Granato

My Dear Friends,

Today we celebrate Corpus Christi, Latin for the Body of Christ. Actually, today’s feast in English is called the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. It is our teaching in the Catholic faith (as well as in the Orthodox Church) that the bread and wine truly and really becomes the Body and Blood of our Lord after the words of consecration. This change in the substance of the bread and wine becoming the Body and Blood continues even after the Mass is over, which has developed through the centuries of Catholics placing any leftover hosts in a tabernacle.

In the beginning, this place of reservation of the hosts was to hold them until a priest or deacon would be able to bring the Holy Eucharist to a homebound person who was not able to get to the Mass or liturgy. It eventually developed to being not only a place of reservation but also a means for people to worship our Lord, present in the hosts, in prayer. It is for this reason that we genuflect as we enter and exit our pews, for we recognize and acknowledge that Jesus is present in the tabernacle. It is also the reason that for many centuries a man would take his hat off as he passed by a Catholic Church and that men and women would make the sign of the cross as they passed by the Church.

Besides praying in the presence of Christ in the tabernacle, the Church has also developed a prayer called Eucharistic Adoration. It is in adoration that the priest will remove the host from the tabernacle and place the host in a monstrance and place the monstrance on the altar so that those who are present can adore the Lord, not only present in the species of bread but also present in such a way that we are able to see with our eyes our Lord in the species of bread.

I remember that first time I went to adoration many years ago at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Waterbury. It was such a peaceful time of prayer, sitting and kneeling in the silence of the chapel just being with our Lord. Today I make it a priority to be in adoration every day for a full holy hour. This prayer time rejuvenates me and brings me strength to fulfill my duties as a priest and as a pastor. After Mass itself, silent time in prayer before our Lord in adoration (or in the tabernacle) brings me the greatest joy. Let us pray in reparation for all the sacrilegious communions that are received every day and let us pray that we ourselves prepare worthily to receive our Lord with purity of heart, mind and soul.