Thursday, 7 June 2007

Ave Verum Corpus

It feels strange not celebrating Corpus Christi today. However, I did spent part of the morning at our Primary School organising next Friday's Eucharistic Procession. We'll be going round the corridors of the school and into the playgrounds, with some of the smaller children throwing petals before the path of the Sanctissimum. There will be Benediction in the new school garden. Prayers for fine weather, please!

Let me mark today by telling a rather quaint Blessed Sacrament story. Since visiting Bologna about seven years ago, I've been fascinated by St Catherine of Bologna (1413-63), whose incorrupt body you can venerate at the Corpus Domini convent. It's unusual in that it sits in the chair that the saint used in her lifetime ( the body is not fastened to the chair in any way):

After death, the body remained flexible and the nails continued to grow until the end of the sixteenth century. She also gave orders regarding the room in which her body was to be kept and its decoration.

Anyway, after several years her body was carried - still sitting in the chair - through the church to a room near the sacristy with an open window in the wall, where she could be more accessible to the pilgrims. As the body went past the tabernacle, it made a profound inclination (I suppose a genuflexion would have been rather awkward). An example to all of us about the honour and respect that is owed to the Real Presence!

(pictures - courtesy of the Santi e Beati site)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

with some of the smaller children throwing petals before the path of the Sanctissimum.

Hmm. I speak from memory, but I believe Fortescue frowns on this. Not sure why.

10:41 pm  
Blogger Fr Nicholas said...

Fortescue reports that the Congregation of Rites tolerates the practice - and so does Fortescue, though he calls it 'undesirable' and stresses that the children 'may not walk among the clerg nor between the clergy and the celebrant carrying the Sanctissimum.'

Bishop-Elect Elliott also makes the last point, though he is less dismissive of the custom.

If it means the day is made memorable for the children and that they grow in devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, then I'm all for it.

11:00 pm  
Blogger Fr Justin said...

Absolutely, Fr Nicholas. Our first-communion children (the girls, anyway) will certainly be scattering petals, and the boys carrying torches for our procession.

9:02 am  
Blogger ali said...

well...that image is a little tiny bit creepy. Why is she that color?

9:37 pm  
Blogger Fr Nicholas said...

Darkened by the ageing process, I suppose?

8:52 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would very much like to read some of her writings. Do you happen to know if there is an english far my internet searching is not showing any.

11:01 pm  

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