Faithful across the diocese, around the world invite others to share in Christ's bounty


TIVERTON — The parishioners at Holy Ghost Parish in the East Bay joined many across the state and around the world in celebrating the annual Solemnity of Corpus Christi with a procession in which the Lord Jesus, substantially present in the Sacred Host, under the appearance of bread, is carried in a monstrance through the streets of the local community.
Father Jay Finelli, pastor, said that like the Blessed Sacrament itself, there is more to the solemnity than meets the eye.
“It is an occasion to profess our faith in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, to thank Jesus for the gift of his Cross and presence in this sacrament — and to walk with him toward the Promised Land of Heaven,” he said.
In his homily, Father Finelli said that the Holy Eucharist is the fulfillment of our Lord’s promises, the fulfillment of his command, ‘Do this in memory of me.’
“Today, we celebrate this great feast of Corpus Christi with rejoicing and thanksgiving to almighty God for the sacrament of his body and soul, blood and divinity,” he said.
“It’s making Calvary present in real time.”
Following the Mass, Father Finelli led a long procession along the suburban streets for several blocks around the church, before returning for Benediction.
In his June 2 homily on the solemnity, Pope Francis said that when Catholics carry the Eucharist through the streets, “we are not doing this to show off or to flaunt our faith, but rather are inviting others to share in the life that Jesus gives by making himself a gift,” the pontiff said.
“Let’s make the procession in this spirit,” the Holy Father added.
Pope Francis presided over the Mass in Rome’s Basilica of St. John Lateran, his cathedral as bishop of Rome. Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, was the main celebrant at the altar.
After Mass, more than 3,000 people – cardinals, bishops, priests, religious, lay members of confraternities and sodalities, Romans and pilgrims – participated in the Corpus Christi procession to the Basilica of St. Mary Major, about a mile away. Rome Auxiliary Bishop Baldo Reina carried the Eucharist under a canopy held aloft by eight men.
Pope Francis, who has difficulty walking and often uses a wheelchair, was driven to St. Mary Major to welcome the procession and lead adoration and Benediction.
In his homily at the Mass, Pope Francis said the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist demonstrates that God is “not distant and jealous, but close and in solidarity with humanity; a God who does not abandon us but always seeks, waits for and accompanies us, even to the point of placing himself, helpless, into our hands, subjecting himself to our acceptance or rejection.”
“His real presence also invites us to be close to our brothers and sisters wherever love calls us,” the pope said.
The sign of bread is important, the pope said, because “it is the food of daily life, and with it we bring to the altar all that we are and all that we have: our lives, work, successes and failures too.”
In some cultures, he said, if someone drops a piece of bread from the table, they pick it up and kiss it as a sign that “it is too precious to be thrown away, even if it has fallen.”
The Eucharist teaches Catholics “to bless, to gather and to cherish God’s gifts as a sign of thanksgiving” by not wasting food or talents, for example, but also by “forgiving and helping raise up those who make mistakes and fall because of weakness or lapses, acknowledging that everything is a gift and nothing should be lost, that no one should be left behind and that everyone deserves a chance to get back on their feet.”
Pope Francis also spoke about the fragrance of bread and how, “every day we see too many streets that were once filled with the smell of freshly baked bread, but are now reduced to rubble by war, selfishness and indifference!”
“We urgently need to bring back to our world the good, fresh aroma of the bread of love, to continue tirelessly to hope and rebuild what hatred destroys,” he said.
Reciting the Angelus prayer earlier in the day with visitors gathered under the rain in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis prayed for war-torn countries where finding one’s daily bread is a challenge.
He prayed for Sudan, “where the war that has been going on for over a year still has not found a peaceful solution.”
“And let us not forget tormented Ukraine, Palestine, Israel (and) Myanmar,” he said. “I appeal to the wisdom of those who govern to cease the escalation and to put every effort into dialogue and negotiation.”
In his main Angelus address, he called attention to the Gospel’s description of Jesus breaking the bread and sharing it with his disciples.
“In the broken bread and in the chalice offered to the disciples,” the pope said, “it is he who gives himself for all humanity and offers himself for the life of the world.”
Because of that, he said, partaking of the Eucharist “is not an act of worship detached from life or a mere moment of personal consolation; we must always remember that Jesus took the bread, broke it and gave it to them and, therefore, communion with him makes us also capable of becoming bread broken for others, capable of sharing what we are and what we have.”
In Tiverton, Holy Ghost parishioner Ron Santos said the annual procession allows us to become that broken bread for others, allowing the faithful to share God’s bounty.
“It confirms our Catholic faith in the community and shows others that this is who we are and that we are welcoming of others,” he said.