The Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ, June 2, 2024

Dear Friends,
It was so wonderful last Saturday to have with us Most Reverend Bill Wack, C.S.C., Bishop of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee. He came to confirm our teens and some adults as well. He also stayed until Sunday to celebrate the 11:00a.m. Mass with and for us. Please continue to pray for those who have been confirmed, that they be set on fire with God’s love through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Fr. Vincent is back after attending his father, Hoa Nguyen'’s, ordination to the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of Savannah, Georgia, by Most Reverend Stephen Parks. This beautiful event took place last Saturday, May 25, 2024 at 10:00 a.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist in Savannah. It must have been a wonderful and moving emsrience for Fr. Vincent and his family. We continue to offer our prayers for Deacon Hoa, his wife Kelly and their children.

We are now beginning the 9th Week in Ordinary Time. As we do so, we celebrate the last of the special solemnities that follow the Great Solemnity of Easter: the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, also known as by the Latin title, Corpus Christi (Body of Christ). On this occasion, it is fitting for us to examine our belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. A recent (2019) Pew Research Center study uncovered an alarming disparity between what many Catholics believe and what the Church teaches (and Christ Himself said) about Holy Communion:

“About six-in-ten (63%) of the most observant Catholics — those who attend Mass at least once a week — accept the church’s teaching about transubstantiation. Still, even among this most observant group of Catholics, roughly onethird (37%) don’t believe that the Communion bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Christ [at the Consecration] .. ... And among Catholics who do not attend Mass weekly, large majorities say they believe the bread and wine are symbolic and do not actually become the body and blood of Jesus” (emphasis is mine). Source: www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2019/08/05/transubstantiation-eucharist-u-s-catholics

How about us here at St. John’s? What do we believe? It is my most fervent prayer that our parish is far from this norm, and that all of us truly and firmly believe in the Real Presence of Jesus, that His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity is present in the consecrated bread and wine — that we ardently believe that we receive the Body and Blood of Christ during Holy Communion.

  • In honor of the Solemnity of the Blood and Blood of Christ, here are some questions for reflection about how we — each
    of us — prepare for and celebrate the great and glorious mystery of the Eucharist during Mass:
  • Do we spend conscious time, before coming to Mass, preparing for what — and Who -- we will soon encounter?
  • Are we faithful to the Eucharistic Fast? That is, do we abstain from eating anything for one hour before Mass? This
    includes refraining from chewing gum, eating mints, or drinking any beverage (even coffee!) other than water.
  • Do we dress appropriately?
  • Do we genuflect when we enter the church or our pew to honor our Lord and acknowledge that He is present in the
  • Once seated in our pew, do we consciously maintain silence, not only to continue preparing for the celebration of the
    Eucharist, but also to avoid disturbing others and to encourage our brothers and sister to do the same?
  • Do we participate in singing the hymns of worship, praise, petition, and love that are offered by our choirs for our
    spiritual uplifting?
  • Do we go up to receive the Eucharist with utmost respect and reverence? Do we form a throne of our hands to
    receive him?
  • How do we respond to the words spoken by the clergy or the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion when they
    say, “The Body of Christ,” “The Body of Christ”? (Our response should only and always be “Amen,” by which word we
    acknowledge, “Yes, | do believe that | am receiving Jesus, His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.”)
  • As we receive our Lord, do we thank Him for this gift of Himself?
  • When we have returned to our pew, do we spend time in prayerful silence, gratefully resting in His great
    Love for us?
  • Do we remain in our pew after the dismissal (“Go, the Mass is ended . . . “) until the Altar Servers and the
    Clergy have processed out to the Narthex?
  • Do we realize that, when we leave church, we are the Tabernacle holding our Lord and that we are tasked with
    sharing Him with others?

As we seek to understand the meaning of what this Solemnity places before us, | offer you a portion of the Sequence, Lauda Sion (Praise, O Zion). The Sequence was composed by St. Thomas Aquinas almost 800 years ago for use during the Masses celebrating this Solemnity:

Lo! the angel’s food is given 
To the pilgrim who has striven; 
see the children’s bread from heaven, 
which on dogs may not be spent.

Truth the ancient types fulfilling,
Isaac bound, a victim willing,
Paschal lamb, its lifeblood spilling,
manna to the fathers sent.

Very bread, good shepherd, tend us
Jesu, of your love befriend us,
You refresh us, you defend us,
our eternal goodness send us,
In the land of life to see.

You who all things can and know,
Who on earth such food bestow,
Grant us with your saints, though lowest,
Where the heav'nly feast you show,
Fellow heirs and guests to be. Amen. Alleluia.

Have a Blessed Week! 


Fr. John