Feast of Corpus Christi at the Holy Sepulchre
“The Eucharist is a wonder of the love of God,” said Bishop William Shomali, Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem, during the Corpus Christi celebration at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher.
The Liturgy of the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ began with First Vespers on Wednesday, June 22nd. This feast is traditionally celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday but in many countries, it is now celebrated on the second Sunday after Pentecost.
To honor the gift of the Holy Eucharist, the Real Presence of Christ, the faithful gathered in Jerusalem at the Holy Sepulchre. Bishop Shomali accompanied by the Franciscans and Latin Patriarchate priests and seminarians, made his solemn entry to the Holy Sepulcher. After kissing the stone of anointing, the procession headed to the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. Vespers were chanted in front of the Tomb, followed by the traditional procession throughout the Holy Sepulcher and ended with Compline.
On Thursday, June 23rd, the people of God again gathered for Lauds and the Mass of Corpus Christi, reaffirming their faith in the Divine Presence in the Blessed Sacrament, the heart and joy, the source and summit of love for the whole Church. The Liturgy with the accompaniment of the Franciscan choir, highlighted this great mystery of the communion between God and His people.
“The Eucharist extends the Incarnation among us” , said Bishop Shomali in his homily, “ a gift that refreshes and feeds us every time we receive it.” Many of the priests concelebrated Mass with the Bishop. Twenty priests who are celebrating anniversaries were acknowledged, including Father Marcelo Gallardo, Vice-Chancellor of the Latin Patriarchate; Father Majdi Syriani, Director of the Latin Patriarchate Schools; Father David Maria Jaeger, newly appointed to the Roman Rota; and Father Jerzy Kraj, Director of the Christian Information Center who are celebrating 25 years of priesthood this year, and Father Anton Issa of the Latin Patriarchate on his fiftieth anniversary. TBishop Shomali mentioned that Pope Benedict XVI, who is also celebrating 60 years of priesthood, asked that we especially pray for priests and their ministry in this month of June.
A procession of the Blessed Sacrament around the Tom followed then to the three altars while the faithful sang hymns with fervor in honor of Christ who gave his body as food so for the world to have life.
This gift of the Eucharist is the gift of our own lives, and that communion in the body of Christ is the source of everything and our support in offering ourselves in serving our brothers and sisters .
To read the story of the Eucharistic miracle of Bolsena, click here