Thursday, June 6, 2013

Corpus Christi Processions-in Russia, Rome and in the U.S.A.

Hope Reigns! Jesus lives! In Rome, Pope Francis led a Corpus Christi procession, through the streets of Rome.  After an absence of 95 years the Russian people were permitted to take part in a Corpus Christi procession through St. Petersburg from the Catholic churches of Our Lady of Lourdes to St. Catherine of Alexandria. Praise God! And on the great solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ I spent it at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, NY where I heard an excellent lecture by Scripture scholar, professor and author, Dr. Brant Pitre. At the Denzer Lecture at the Seminary, Msgr. Henning, the rector, introduced Dr. Pitre and told us that having heard him speak sometime ago, he was anxious for him to come to the Seminary to speak. I could see why. His topic was fascinating, "Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist." He's an expert on this topic as he's written a book titled, "Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper."
Quoting from the Hebrew Scriptures, the New Testament and ancient Hebrew texts (Midrash Rabbah) Dr. Pitre made the connection between the heavenly manna given to the Jewish people during the Exodus to the heavenly bread- the "bread of the age to come," given to us by Jesus. Holy Communion just like the manna given to the ancient Isrealites, is both "daily and supernatural," by which we are fed and nourish at the table of the Lord.
After the lecture, Msgr. Richard Henning planned a beautiful Eucharistic Procession through the grounds of the Seminary which are magnificent. After the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and prayer, in the main chapel,  we were led first to the Rose Garden (which is generously maintained by the "Friends of the Seminary,") then to the Loggia and finally to the Crypt Chapel for a triple benediction. The wind blew, the Spirit was present and it was a glorious procession, with beautiful music, prayers, adoration of God and the faithful. Most impressive!
So that is how I spent the feast of Corpus Christi. A day well spent, in prayer, with friends (Friends of the Seminary), surrounded by beauty.

Resurrection is the key--
The flesh of the Son of Man, given as food, is his body in its glorious state after the Resurrection. With the Eucharist we digest, as it were, the 'secret' of the resurrection." Pope John Paul II- "Ecclesia de Eucharistia 18)