Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

June 17, 2017 Column Father De Celles

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Today is “Corpus Christi Sunday,” a feast established to remind us that, even as Lent and Easter are over, the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection and His continued presence on Earth remains with us in a most sublime way in the Eucharist. In particular, we remember that the bread and wine really become the very Body and Blood of Jesus Christ Himself—His Real Presence among us. Just as surely as He was bodily present on the Cross, at the Resurrection, and as He ascended to His Father in Heaven, He is also surely present on the altar under the appearance of bread and wine.

The Book of Revelation tells us that the angels and saints in heaven continually “fell down and worshipped” Jesus. So let’s consider how we react to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

     — Do we show reverence toward the Blessed Sacrament?

Do we genuflect before Our Lord present in the tabernacle whenever we enter the church (usually before sitting in our pew) or whenever we pass in front of the tabernacle?

Do we chat loudly in church as if the Lord of Heaven were not present?

     — How do we dress at Mass, especially on Sunday?

Like we are going to the Wedding Feast of Our King, or going to the beach?

Do we remember that skimpy clothing can be a near occasion of sin for others, and so dress modestly at Mass?

     — How do we act during Mass?

Do we focus prayerfully on the miracle transpiring on the altar, especially during and after the consecration?

Do we chat and laugh with each other, ignoring the solemnity of the Mass?

Do we turn the exchange of the “sign of peace” before Communion into a casual “meet and greet,” or carefully observe it as the ritual and prayerful sign of the peace of Christ that comes to us in the Eucharist?

     — How do we receive Holy Communion?

Do we observe the Eucharistic fast for one hour before Communion?

Do we examine our consciences so we don’t receive unworthily (i.e., if we need to confess mortal sins or are otherwise prohibited from receiving)?

Do we approach prayerfully, or are we looking around or laughing?

Do we carefully show some sign of reverence immediately before receiving Holy Communion: bowing or genuflecting, or even kneeling?

Do we prayerfully receive as a profound act of faith and love?

If we receive on the tongue, to avoid any chance of the Host being dropped:

Do we stand close enough to the priest, open our mouths and extend our tongues?

Do we hold still our heads, tongues and mouths (not lurching, licking or biting) until we receive and the priest removes his hand?

If we receive in our hand:

Do we wash our hands before Mass?

Do we extend both hands, one on top of the other, forming a throne for Our King?

Do we immediately step aside and reverently consume the Host in the sight of the priest or extraordinary minister?

Do we examine our hands to make sure no particles remain?

     — Do we remember that Jesus remains in the tabernacle after Mass?

Do we stay a few minutes after Mass is over to give thanks, or do we rush out of church as soon as possible?

Do we drop by the church during the week to visit Our Lord in the tabernacle?

Do we spend time with Our Lord during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament?

Do we share our faith in the Eucharist with others?

Do we actively teach our children to do all these things?


I am continually moved by the Eucharistic reverence at St. Raymond’s. But sometimes we forget—myself included. And so, we redouble our efforts so as to give Him due worship.


Eucharistic Procession. To help us to refocus on our faith in the Real Presence, today, Sunday, June 18, immediately after the 12:15 Mass, we will have our annual Corpus Christi Eucharistic Procession, walking with the Eucharist outside of the church while singing the Lord’s praises. Please join us in this ancient and eloquent witness to our faith in and love of our Eucharistic Lord.


Father’s Day. Today, of course, is Father’s Day. What a great gift fatherhood is, one of the original gifts God gave to mankind, that with marriage and motherhood form the foundation of all human society and true civilization. Given that fact, it is amazing and frightening that nowadays instead of helping and encouraging men to be good fathers, many people are trying to undermine, demean and even destroy fatherhood, just as they are similarly trying to do effect so many other aspects of normal and natural human life and behavior. For example: efforts to feminize boys and men; demeaning or discarding the natural and sacramental union of husband and wife; downplaying or denying the necessity of fathers; unnaturally changing the way men become fathers; attempting to alter the responsibilities and rights of fathers.

With all this, it is a tough time to be a father—that is, to be a good and true father. And it will get even tougher in the days ahead. So let us honor our fathers today, let us show them our love, and let us pray for them. And let us continue, with God’s grace, to work for a society that protects and honors the fundamental institution of fatherhood.

          By the way: One great way to honor and pray for our fathers is to join/bring them to our Corpus Christi Procession this afternoon!


Summer Seminarian. I am very pleased to announce that Bishop Burbidge has assigned Arlington Diocese Seminarian Mike Nugent to live and work in our Parish for 5 weeks this summer, from July 1 to August 13 (six weeks less one week doing work outside of the diocese). Before entering the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary last year Mike was a parishioner at St. Agnes, in Arlington. He spent last year, his first year, in a “Spiritual Year.” He is the son of a Navy family, and after studying finance and economics in college worked for an investment bank for a few years.

Mike will only be with us a short time, but I’m hoping to give him a broad range of experiences here, so you should see him a lot. I’m sure you will join me in welcoming him and supporting him with prayers and encouragement.


Vocations Crucifix. In the next few weeks the Parish will begin sponsoring a unique form of promoting vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Every week a special crucifix, an exact duplicate of the one that sits on our altar, will go to a different sponsoring family’s home, where they will pray before it daily for vocations. More information will be available shortly, but if you are interested in participating, and I hope you are, please call the Parish office to sign up.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles