"My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
remains in me and I in him." (John 6:55-56)
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, also known as the Feast of Corpus Christi, is a celebration of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. On this day, we recall the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper.
In the United States, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ is celebrated on the Sunday after Trinity Sunday, rather than on the Thursday. This year, it is on Sunday, June 19, 2022.
While the Last Supper is also commemorated on Holy Thursday, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ focuses solely on the gift of the Eucharist. The mood is also more joyous than that felt on Holy Thursday, the day before Christ's passion and death.
The origins of the Feast of Corpus Christi date back to the 13th century and to a nun from Belgium, Sister Juliana of Mont Cornillion. From an early age, she had a great love for the Blessed Sacrament and believed a special feast should be held in its honor. She is said to have had a vision of the Church as a full moon with a dark spot, symbolizing the absence of the feast. She took her cause to Church leaders including the Bishop of Liege and the Archdeacon of the Cathedral of Liege, both of whom became convinced. The bishop began celebrating the feast in his diocese. The archdeacon would go on to become Pope Urban IV, and in 1254, he issued a papal bull establishing the feast for the universal Church, placing it on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. Unfortunately, Pope Urban died just one month later, and the feast would not become more widely celebrated until the 14th century.
The feast is often marked by eucharistic processions, during which the Blessed Sacrament is carried in a monstrance through the church and into the streets. Many also spend time in Eucharistic Adoration on the solemnity. You'll find a list of some of the parish celebrations below.
A eucharistic procession will also be held at St. Peter Church, located on 58 Cedar Street in East Millinocket, on Sunday, June 19, after the 10 a.m. Mass.
A eucharistic procession will be held at St. Joseph Church, located on 133 Middle Street in Farmington, immediately after the 10:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, June 19. Adoration will continue in the main church following the procession until benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at 4:45 p.m.
Eucharistic adoration and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament will be offered at St. Louis Church, located on 26 East Main Street, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 19.
A eucharistic procession will be held at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, located on 857 Main Street in Fryeburg, on Sunday, June 19, after the 10:30 a.m. Mass. A potluck lunch will follow in the church hall.
A eucharistic procession through downtown Houlton will begin on Sunday, June 19, immediately following the 10:30 a.m. Mass at St. Mary of the Visitation Church on 112 Military Street.
A eucharistic procession will be held on Sunday, June 19, at 12:30 p.m. from Holy Family Church, located on 607 Sabattus Street, to the Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul on 122 Ash Street. A Blessing of the Cities will take place on the steps of the Basilica. A shuttle will be available for anyone needing a ride during the procession. A reception will take place following the blessing, and the shuttle will be available to return you to your vehicles at Holy Family.
A eucharistic procession will be held at St. Rose of Lima Church, located on 1 Church Street in Jay, immediately after the 4 p.m. Mass on Saturday, June 18.
A eucharistic procession will be held at Our Lady of Ransom Church, located on 117 Elm Street, after the 10:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, June 19. The procession will be followed by a potluck lunch in the church hall.
A eucharistic procession will be held at St. Martin of Tours Church, located on 19 Colby Street in Millinocket, on Saturday, June 18, after the 4 p.m. Mass.
Eucharistic adoration will be held between the 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. Masses and then after the 11 a.m. Mass at Holy Family Church on 429 Main Street on Sunday, June 19. Devotions and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament will begin at 1 p.m.
As part of the Neophyte Mass on Sunday, June 19, at 10 a.m., a eucharistic procession will be held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on 307 Congress Street in Portland at the end of the Mass. A neophyte is a newly initiated person who is going through the final period of Christian Initiation, the post-baptismal catechesis called "mystagogy." The Rite of Christian Initiation notes that during the period of mystagogy the bishop meets again after the celebration of the Easter Vigil with those whose names were called at the Rite of Election. To celebrate this, the neophytes and newly received, along with their families and friends, are invited to attend a Mass with the bishop to rejoice in their initiation. All are welcome to gather.
A eucharistic procession will be held at St. Louis Church, located on 279 Danforth Street in Portland, immediately following the 11:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, June 19.
A eucharistic procession will be held on Sunday, June 19, after the 10 a.m. Mass at Holy Cross Church on 124 Cottage Road in South Portland. The procession from the church will continue through the local neighborhood.
An hour of adoration will be held in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel on Sunday, June 19, at 3 p.m. The chapel is located on 101 Silver Street. Fr. Dan Baillargeon will speak and Fr. Jacques Dolbec will lead the benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. All are welcome.
A parish Mass will be celebrated in the grotto of St. John the Baptist Church, 26 Monument Street in Winslow, on Sunday, June 19, at 10:30 a.m.
An all-night prayer vigil for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi will be held at Sacred Heart Church on 326 Main Street in Yarmouth. Adoration will begin after the 4 p.m. Mass on Saturday, June 18, with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament followed by sacred music for the first hour. Each hour will be dedicated to specific causes or ministries until 7:45 a.m. on Sunday, June 19. Mass will begin at 8 a.m. followed by breakfast in the church hall until 10:30 a.m. For more information or to sign up to be an adorer, click here. Anyone can come and pray in silence with our Lord at any time throughout the night. The event is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and ACTS. For more information, contact Kim Lovett at (207) 553-7042 or [email protected].