Corpus Christi Processions
The Corpus Christi procession, once a milestone in the Catholic liturgical year, nearly vanished from American Catholic life in the decades after Vatican II. But in recent years the processions — in which the Body of Christ, in the form of a consecrated Host, is carried through the streets in an elaborate holder called a monstrance — has begun to resurge in popularity.
Begun in 13th century Belgium, The Feast of Corpus Christi (also called the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ) was made a universal feast of the Church less than 20 years later. St. Thomas Aquinas composed the liturgy for the mass, including the famous prayers Pange Lingua and Tantum Ergo. It’s a holy day of obligation and was originally celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, but has been transferred to the following Sunday in the United States.
Corpus Christi celebrates the miracle that occurs at every Mass, when the Host and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. At a Corpus Christi procession, as at other Eucharistic processions, the Body of Christ is taken through the streets (or in smaller processions, the church grounds) under a canopy. Temporary altars are set up at various places along the route for special prayers. Many parishes include banners in their processions and invite First Communicants and the recently confirmed to walk in their formal clothes. Processions end with Benediction, a short liturgy that ends with the Host being returned to the Tabernacle (or “reposed”).
Before Vatican II, when Corpus Christi processions were large and popular, they were generally celebrated in all-Catholic neighborhoods. Today, are a way to witness the to a secular world that Jesus Christ is alive and present in the Eucharist.
Here are the Corpus Christi processions we know about in our area. Please note that the Corpus Christi procession at Holy Family parish in Dayton is TONIGHT. If your parish has a procession and is not listed, add your information to the comment box.
Diocese of Covington
Bishop Roger Foys will lead a Eucharistic procession around the grounds of the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption on sunday at 2 pm. All priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful of the Diocese are invited to participate in this celebration.
According to diocesan spokesman Tim Fitzpatrick, Bishop Foys revived the Corpus Christi procession three years ago. This year, the bishop celebration will include special prayers for religious freedom and freedom of conscience. “In the Eucharist the Lord Jesus is with us always,” Bishop Foys said in a letter to the diocese. “Through participation in this Eucharistic procession we have the opportunity to give witness to belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Please consider participating in this celebration.”
St. William and St. Teresa Parishes (Price Hill)
For the 15th year, the two West Side parishes celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi with a combined prayer service and procession between the two churches. The prayer service begins a 2 pm at St. Teresa of Avila, followed by a procession through the streets of West Price Hill to St. William, for Benediction. The route is about a mile long.
The parishes suggest arriving early and parking at St. William, where a bus will transport people to St. Teresa beginning at 1 pm. The bus will also be in the procession, so that people who have difficulty walking can participate. All are invited to stay a for a reception after Benediction. (Listings continue below photo.)
St. Mary and St. Boniface (Piqua)
The two Piqua parishes will begin Corpus Christi with 40 Hours devotion, starting at the conclusion of the 8:45 am Friday Mass at St. Mary. Exposition will continue until about 4:45 pm, just before the evening Mass, and will resume after Saturday evening Mass ends and continue through the night. On Sunday it will be suspended again before the 9 am and noon Masses.
After the Sunday noon Mass, the procession will lead from St. Mary’s to St. Boniface Church, where it will end with solemn benediction. During the 40 Hours, the Eucharist will not be exposed in the St. Clare Chapel at St. Boniface. After the procession, perpetual Adoration at the chapel will resume.
After Benediction, all are invited for a pot luck carry-in meal at he Caserta Center ad St. Boniface. Transportation back to St. Mary will be available.
St. Clement (St. Bernard)
St. Clement parish revived its German, Franciscan-style Corpus Christi procession three years ago. The parish will hold Adoration after 10:30 Mass, and will begin the procession at 6 pm. For a slideshow of last year’s procession through the streets of St. Bernard, click here for Sacred Heart Radio’s Facebook page.
Old St. Mary’s (Over-the-Rhine)
Old St. Mary’s will hold a procession around the block and through the church garden after a 10:30 Mass Sunday (note early start time).
Holy Family (Dayton)
Procession will follow the 7 pm Latin Mass TONIGHT. Holy Family is a Traditional Latin Mass parish and follows the older liturgical calendar.
St. Gertrude (Madiera)
The St. Gertrude procession begins from the church after the 12:30 Mass on Sunday, and ends at an outside shrine on the front lawn of the Dominican Priory with Exposition and Benediction.
St. Remy (Russia)
The St. Remy procession begins after 11 am Mass Sunday.
Emmanuel Church (Dayton)
The Emmanuel Church 11th annual Corpus Christi procession will begin after the 5:15 Vigil Mass on SATURDAY. There will be colored drawings on the street and the procession will go out of church, down the street and then back into church.
St. Cecilia Church (Oakley)
The St. Cecilia procession thorough the streests of Oakley begins after the 10 am Mass Sunday, and includes stops for prayer and singing.
Queen of Peace (Hamilton/Millville)
The Queen of Peace procession begins after the 10:30 Mass Sunday.
Holy Angels (Sidney)
The Holy Angels procession will begin after the noon Mass Sunday and will stop at three temporary altars in downtown Sidney: Resurrection Garden behind the church, Shelby County Right to Life, and Holy Angels Rectory. After Benediction in the church, all are welcome to a reception at Holy Angels School cafeteria. (See a gallery of photos from last year’s procession here.)