Corpus Christi is a feast day that celebrates the belief and the tradition of the transubstantiation of Christ’s body and blood to bread and wine in the Eucharist Sacrament. This solemnity is celebrated in many different countries around the world and is celebrated the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, or about two months after Easter.
Corpus Christi was first enacted by a Premonstratensian canoness named Juliana of Liège, who was looking for a way to revere the Blessed Sacrament outside of Lent. She was further driven to action when she noticed a dark spot on the moon while she was pondering the idea and took that as a sign that signified the absence of such a solemnity.
She then had a vision of Christ in 1208 and this drove her fervor even more. Over the next two decades, she continued to have these visions until she confessed them to her priest, who then passed on the vision to the bishop.
Bishop Robert would eventually go on to convene a synod in 1246, and it is there that he decreed that the celebration should begin the following year. It was celebrated the first time the following year at St. Martin at Liège.
Customs And Celebrations
There are many different customs associated with this Feast Day, and some of them are fairly unique. Most of the celebrations that are held around the world feature some sort of parade or pageant on that day, the details of which varies according to locality.
For instance, in many parts of Central Europe large bouquets of flowers and wreaths are placed at homes and in fields. In the Hill Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, there is often a blessing of the neighborhood that occurs on this day.
And in other parts of the world there are colorful pageants where participants dress up as people from the Bible. Another custom that is very prevalent is the naming of rivers and lakes in honor of the day. For example, the river at the mission in Sacramento, California was named after the Eucharist.
The rite of Corpus Christi not only honors the death and celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but it is also an important feast day that allows all participants to stand in awe of the power of the Eucharist and the belief in the resurrection of Christ.