Corpus Christi: the Feast of God's love

photo: The procession enters Farm Street Church

Cardinal Vincent Nichols presided at this year’s Corpus Christi procession through the streets of central London. Starting at Farm Street Jesuit Church in Mayfair, it passed through the busy Oxford Street shopping thoroughfare before ending at St James’s in Spanish Place, Marylebone. Thousands of Catholics joined the procession to witness to Christ’s Eucharistic presence in the world. The Cardinal, who is Archbishop of Westminster, described Corpus Christi as "a feast of unbounded joy, for it is the Feast of the Love of God for us all, the love shown in Jesus." 

The Corpus Christi procession through the streets of central London was first proposed more than a century ago when the city hosted an international Eucharistic Congress. But although a witness began in 1908, the authorities objected to the carrying of the Blessed Sacrament through the capital's streets as part of the procession.

Acknowledging our unworthiness

Last year, the two parishes (Farm Street and St James’s) witnessed for the first time to their belief in Christ’s true presence in the Eucharist with a procession through the streets of Mayfair and Marylebone which included the Blessed Sacrament and which attracted around 1,000 people.

Speaking at Spanish Place at the end of the route, Cardinal Nichols described Holy Communion as “a profound spiritual moment”. But he stressed that the recipient needs to make a conscious decision to receive Christ’s life and grace into their souls through the sacrament. “This spiritual dimension of receiving Holy Communion does not come automatically, in the physical act of receiving,” he said. “We cannot entertain a presumption of a right to receive Holy Communion. We can only come with a humble acknowledgement of our own unworthiness. We come knowing our weakness and leaning on the mercy of God. We can never receive Holy Communion with a good heart and a right intention unless we are willing to be changed, willing to be converted.”

Read the full text of Cardinal Nichols' homily.