The Eucharist heals people of their wounds, emptiness and sadness, and gives them the strength to share Christ’s loving mercy with others, Pope Francis said.
The joy of the Lord can change lives, the pope said in his homily during Mass on 14th June, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.
“This is the strength of the Eucharist, which transforms us into bringers of God, bringers of joy, not negativity,” he said during the morning Mass, which was celebrated in St Peter’s Basilica with a small congregation of about 50 people, the majority of whom wore masks and maintained social distance.
Drastically reducing the size of the congregation and not holding a traditional outdoor Corpus Christi procession after Mass were part of the ongoing efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Over many decades, popes have celebrated the feast either in different neighbourhoods in and around Rome or at the Basilica of St John Lateran followed by a one-mile procession to the Basilica of St Mary Major. The solemn procession, in which the pope or a priest carried a monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament through the streets, would be lined with thousands of people.
For the feast day celebration on 14th June, however, the entire ceremony was held inside St Peter’s Basilica and concluded with a long moment of silent eucharistic adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. The feast of the Body and Blood of Christ celebrates the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
Picture: Pope Francis leads Benediction at the conclusion of the Mass marking the feast of Corpus Christi in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on 14th June 2020. The Mass was celebrated with a small congregation of some 50 people as part of efforts to contain spread of the coronavirus. (CNS photo/Tiziana Fabi, Reuters pool).