The Feast of the Most Sacred Body and Blood of our Lord, or Corpus Christi, will be celebrated in a High Mass in the traditional Latin form at St. Stanislaus Church in New Haven on Sunday, June 9, at 2:00 pm. The celebrant will be The Reverend Peter Langevin, Chancellor of the Diocese of Norwich, the Reverend Dr. Richard Cipolla will be the deacon and preach and William Riccio will serve as the subdeacon.
In 1208 St. Juliana of Mont-Cornillon had a vision in which Christ instructed her to work for the institution of a feast in honor of His Body and Blood in the Eucharist. Responding to local establishment of such a feast in French dioceses on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, Pope Urban IV instituted the feast of Corpus Christi universally in the Western Church in 1268. The pope requested that St. Thomas Aquinas compose the texts for the liturgy of feast, which include the propers sung at Mass notably the the sequence Lauda Sion and the chants sung in the procession.
The procession following the Mass reminds us of how the Israelites revered the Ark of the Covenant as the Presence of God among them. The Ark was carried before them by the Levites in a cloud of incense and the singing of the multitude. We Christians have a treasure far more precious, for in the Eucharist we possess God Himself. Let us feel a holy pride in forming His escort and extolling his triumphs while He is in our midst.
Music for the service, sung by the Schola Cantorum of The Saint Gregory Society, will include the Gregorian Mass Ordinary IV, “Cunctipotens Genitor,” the Eucharistic hymns Pange lingua, Verbum supernum, Adoro te devote, and Sacris solemniis, the proper Gregorian chants, and organ music by Jean Titelouze and Guillaume de Nivers.