Friday, May 30, 2008

Some Notes for the Feast of Corpus Christi (mostly for St Matthias')

The Feast
The Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, or Corpus Christi, was first instituted in the diocese of Liège in 1246 in response to the petitions of Juliana of Liège, an Augustinian nun. It was popularly felt that a feast solely in honour of the Holy Eucharist was needed in addition to the day of its institution, Maundy Thursday, which has other, less joyful associations. In 1264 Pope Urban IV made it a feast for the whole western church. The feast was appointed for the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. In recent years it has been kept on the Sunday next following the feast.
At the Reformation the English Book of Common Prayer abolished the feast of Corpus Christ, most likely because of its association with the doctrine of transubstantiation, but it was one of the elements reclaimed by the Catholic revival in Anglicanism.. In the new service book Common Worship, the Church of England provides that “The Thursday after Trinity Sunday may be observed as ‘The Day of Thanksgiving for the Institution of Holy Communion’ (Corpus Christi)”. The American Prayer Book provides a collect “of the Holy Eucharist, Especially suited for Thursdays”. No provision for this feast is made in the Canadian Book of Alternative Services, but it is kept by many Canadian parishes, and propers are provided in the annual McCausland’s Order of Divine Service, though this is not an official liturgical publication of the Church.
The Notes on the Readings provided were for the wrong year and have been removed. I apologize for any inconvenience.

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