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Bishop Deeley Celebrates the Gift of the Eucharist on the Feast of Corpus Christi

Celebrating Mass on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, also known as the Feast of Corpus Christi, Bishop Robert Deeley called the Eucharist the greatest sign of God’s love for us.

“Out of the love of God, we are saved,” the bishop said.

The Feast of Corpus Christi is a celebration of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. It is a day on which the Church commemorates the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper.

“It is not just a moment when we think back to the Last Supper and remember fondly Jesus’ supper with his disciples. We believe that what happened there, happens here. Jesus is truly present,” the bishop said. “The very way in which we pray during the Mass reminds us of this truth of the Eucharist. We do not just recall what happened at the Last Supper. We believe that, by what we do, by the words we say, Jesus is truly present with us.”

During the Mass, celebrated June 19 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland, the bishop said that we know that Jesus become truly present to us in the body and blood because that is what he told us at the Last Supper.

“These words promised that he would give of himself. He would sacrifice himself for us. He would offer himself on the cross. And that would be remembered when we offer the Mass. In every celebration of the Eucharist, we re-offer, in an unbloody manner, what he once offered on the cross himself. Through the Eucharist, he remains with us always and always offers himself for us, because he loves us,” the bishop said.

As is traditionally the case on the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Mass included a eucharistic procession. Father Seamus Griesbach, rector of the cathedral, carried a monstrance holding the Blessed Sacrament around the cathedral and into the adjoining chapel where the faithful gathered for adoration and benediction. The Feast of Corpus Christi and the eucharistic procession also marked the beginning of the diocese’s participation in the Eucharistic Revival, the U.S. Bishops’ three-year effort to revive devotion and belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

The Mass was also an opportunity to celebrate with and pray for those who were baptized and received into the full communion of the Church at Easter.

“We refer to these newly baptized as neophytes. They are beginning a new journey in life and faith,” the bishop said. “We are renewed in our faith when we witness others finding meaning and life in its beautiful message of the eternal worth of each of us grounded in our conviction that God, in his love, has revealed himself to us in Jesus Christ to give purpose to our lives and direction to our actions.”

Neophytes from around the area came together for the Mass and received a blessing from the bishop, who asked God to “protect the new birth you have given them through your saving mysteries. Bring them one day to the glory of your banquet in heaven.”

This Easter, approximately 80 people were baptized at churches around the diocese, the largest number in more than 10 years.