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Corpus Christi

June 8, 2009

27Monstrance3The High Mass on Thursday evening is for one of my favourite feasts of the year, Corpus Christi. I look upon it as Maundy Thursday outside Holy Week, just as the Feast of the Holy Cross is Good Friday outside Holy Week. This gives us a chance to rejoice with the joy of  our full Resurrection faith, even about events which (without the Resurrection) are full of sadness and futility.

I love to dwell on the great  (but intellectually satisfying) mystery of the Body of Christ, in its three Modes of Being.

1) Clearly the Body of Christ is in Heaven, indissolubly united to the Person of God the Son, and therefore with the whole Trinity.

2) The Apostle Paul calls all Christians the Body of Christ, because we have all been baptized into his mystical Body, and are now his “members”, his eyes and mouths and hands on earth in 2009, to look on the broken world with his eyes of love as he did in Jerusalem; to speak the words of truth with his mouth as he did all over Judea and Galilee; to use our bodies to embrace and comfort and heal and bless, as he did all during his incarnate life.

3) This is all made possible by the Sacramental Body of Christ which lies on our altars in the bread of the Mass, which we take into our bodies as food for the pilgrimage ahead of us.

The Sacrament on the altar is like the narrow part of an hour-glass where the “sand” of God’s dynamic life pours through into us, and then spreads out into the world that so desperately needs that life and love.

Father Andrew Mead, Rector of St Thomas’s, Fifth Avenue, is our preacher on Thursday. If you are within reach, come and join us and seize the chance to adore the Lord in his Holy Sacrament. If the weather is kind, we will have a torchlight reception in the garden afterwards, when I hope to greet all our visitors.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Andrew permalink
    June 9, 2009 10:00 pm

    Dear Father,

    I have recently come across the website of your church and was glorying in the pictures in the gallery. I don’t think I have ever seen folded Gothic chasubles before. Am I correct in assuming that your liturgy is based on the English Missal?


    • June 9, 2009 11:00 pm

      Dear Andrew,
      Neither had I till I came to St Clement’s! Yes, we use the English Missal. Come and see us one day

  2. Andrew permalink
    June 12, 2009 10:49 am

    Dear Father,

    Thank you I would very much like to, I think as I would be coming from London that it would count as a pilgrimage?
    With regard to the English Missal, I have an “English Missal for the Laity” dated 1933 reprinted 1949 and also a very nice leatherbound Altar Missal dated 1923 (second edition). These have slightly different wordings (e.g. one uses “host” the other “victim”) and the Altar Missal does not translate the words of consecration in the Roman Canon but instead uses the BCP version whereas in the Laity version it is all translated. Is it usual(?) to use the later editions with the “complete” Canon?

    Many thanks,


  3. June 12, 2009 2:22 pm

    All sorts of variations of use exist, and as you say, different translations. We use the translation of the Roman Canon made by Monsignor Knox – while he was an Anglican of course! He saw no need to translate it when he became a Roman Catholic.

  4. Todd permalink
    June 12, 2009 3:35 pm

    Dear Father.

    I have always wanted to come to Philadelphia for Corpus Christi at St. Clements. My one visit to your parish three years ago only made this desire stronger. Alas, another year has passed and as usual circumstances have prevented my long desired trip from coming to fruition.

    The only Anglo-Catholic parish in Ct that observed Corpus Christi no longer does so, the rector deems it to “catholic”. So, what can I do? I, like you, cherish this feast and understand its mystical importance. I just wish all shared our point of view.

    Kind regards!

  5. John permalink
    June 17, 2009 12:15 pm

    Todd said: “The only Anglo-Catholic parish in Ct that observed Corpus Christi no longer does so, the rector deems it to “catholic”.”

    Todd, by “Ct” do you mean Connecticut? If so, my Anglo-Catholic parish in CT still observes Corpus Christi, not to the extent St. Clement’s does, but with great dignity and respect.

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