Pictures from Corpus Christi observances around the world

The practice of public spectacle on religious feasts is certainly an old one, in which believers take to the streets in revelry or reverence, or a mixture of both. In more pluralistic, secularized societies such celebrations tend to be muted or absent. Yet outdoor spectacle does continue, and Corpus Christi is one such occasion.

Mercury News has an array of photos from around the world, including Switzerland, Poland, Germany, Italy, Brazil, and Panama, ranging from decorous sobriety to emotional drama. They feature street processions, native costume, and special displays, all for the feast of Corpus Christi. The pics that take the cake are from Panama. They feature colorful masks and a dance displaying the devil doing penance. Who knew?

HT / Catholic Herald, UK


  1. One neighborhood I know of has had, for many years now, a summer ‘block party’ that included the praying of the Rosary. The non-Catholic neighbors who attended are always quite respectful, and some have been quite curious– “What is that all about?” some have asked. And that question opened the door to some friendly evangelization. And, in time, non-Catholic neighbors welcomed into full communion.
    Outdoor religious processions –for whatever reason/occassion– can run the gamut from silly to sublime (hopefully, joyfully reverent). But as long as they cause people to wonder, to ask questions they can become the ‘pre-evangelization event’ that leads to a fuller telling of the Person and His Story.
    So, for whatever Corpus Christi processions there are, God bless them. Any attempt to quiet down the more raucous ones just might cause the rocks and stones themselves to start to sing.

  2. Gotta love the “doctrinal spoonerism” in the Mercury News’ initial commentary: “Corpus Christi, a Roman Catholic holiday, celebrates the Christian sacrament and rite, the Eucharist, which for Christians represents the transformation of the body and blood of Christ into bread and wine.”

    1. @Fr. Ron Krisman – comment #2:
      Really good. After the chuckle, almost gives you something to consider in prayer: The risen Christ does “become” Bread and Wine” outwardly,” and thus he gives himself. Except for the trouble with “become” and the dogmatic definition, it’s quite edifying. The risen Body and Blood do “become-” the Sacrament – and thus he gives himself to us.

  3. As my wife is involved in a fundraising activity announced this weekend, we saw all three Masses at our parish in Columbus, Ohio.

    Saturday at 5 p.m., the priest — a resident, not the pastor — held a miniprocession around the interior of the church after Mass.

    Sunday at 9 p.m., the pastor announced the international hour of exposition, noted that it interfered with the time of the late mass (our time it started at 11, while the last mass is at 1130), started exposition after the mass around 1015 and ending with benediction at 11.

    At 1130 am there was a baptism and presentation of the children from our burgeoning community of Latin American immigrants — no special Corpus Christi recognition beyond the homily,

  4. In the local parish there was a re-celebration of the first communions that took place in April with a reception afterwards, which included bread baked by the children (I did not attend so I have no idea what it was like).

    My ninety year old aunt told stories about when Corpus Christi was a real celebration. The German side of my family came to Carrolltown , which was the first Benedictine parish and monastery established in the USA. It actually had the status of a priory up until 1962.

    Trips to Carrolltown and the hotel there which was run by my great grandparents were central to my mother’s generation and the preceding one. Corpus Christ with its annual procession, largely confined to the cemetery, was an important annual trip and event.

    Their website has a picture of the Corpus Christi Procession back in those days (June 18, 1911). Scroll to bottom.

  5. For too many reasons to go into here, I almost missed mass. Typically I attend 4pm on Saturday or 7:30am on Sunday, but not this weekend. Miraculously, I showed up at 10:59 for the 11am mass.

    We do not do a lot for days like this, yet how we were made sharply aware of the feast. No procession, nothing extraordinarily special, just the gathering of God’s people, beautiful preaching about what – I should say who – constitutes the Body, the need for all to be present and welcomed in love, because there is always more than enough.

    I saw people that I don’t often see, because I go to different masses, I saw people that I know from my work parish, who happened to be in our neighboring town, I sang, and I prayed, remembering that a little over 6 years ago, that Mark and I got married there, and save the priest, I did not know a living soul in the parish.

    That is how the Body and Blood is made manifest, in the welcome, in one another, always through Christ.

    I’m grateful that I was there!

    1. @Joe McMahon – comment #9:
      How interesting that there’s a website named for the Brooklyn Eagle, a newspaper that has been out of business for decades. Great picture, too! The church in the background, is that St. Finbar?

      1. @Rita Ferrone – comment #10:

        A five day a week paper newspaper has been published in Brooklyn under the Brooklyn Daily Eagle name since 1996, though it is not a revival of the original Brooklyn Eagle. The Eagle name had fallen into the public domain. In 1996, a newly refounded Brooklyn Eagle merged with the Brooklyn Daily Bulletin and the combined paper was named the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

    1. @James Savage – comment #12:
      Thanks for these pictures, James. It’s so clear that someone put a lot of work into making this procession a delight to both the eye and the ear. I wish I could have been there!

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