On June 2, 2013, Catholic churches worldwide celebrated the Feast of Corpus Christi, otherwise known as Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.
Every Sunday, when the community gathers to celebrate Mass (Holy Eucharist), they celebrate the Body and Blood of Christ, as Catholics believe in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the consecrated host.
The Feast of Corpus Christi commemorates the Eucharist. It is when Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament (consecrated host) is exposed to the faithful set in a beautiful elaborately designed monstrance, for adoration and benediction.
This year the Feast of Corpus Christi on June 2, is special as Pope Francis had called for a special Eucharistic adoration to be held simultaneously all over the world.
For an hour at 5.00pm local time, the whole world was united in prayer and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
In Penang, the Corpus Christi celebration with Mass (in 4 languages) and procession was organised by the City Parish.
The theme for the event this year was ‘Let’s walk in faith with Jesus’. Near 2000 people were present.
The Mass, celebrated by the Bishop of Penang, Bishop Sebastian Francis began at 5.30pm at the Assumption church (one of Penang’s World Heritage Icon).
Also present to con-celebrate the Mass were City Parish’s parish priest Fr Dominic Santhiyagu and assistant parish priest, Fr Michael Thoo, Fr Martin Arlando, Fr Julien Leow, Fr Joe Matthew OFM Cap and Fr Arul Mariadass OFM.
After the Mass ended, the Blessed Sacrament was set in a gold coloured monstrance and then transferred to a beautifully decorated lorry for the candle-light procession, with the faithful following in front and behind.
Cute flower girls lead the Blessed Sacrament, throwing scented flowers on the streets, making a ‘special’ carpet for the Blesses Sacrament to pass by.
The 2 km procession passed through Farquhar Street where Assumption church is situated on Penang Road, Macalister Lane and ended at the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows in Macalister Road.
During the procession, the Blessed Sacrament made three stops for veneration. This is where Bishop Sebastian and two other priests raised the Monstrance high, while the Altar Servers incense the Monstrance and the faithful following the procession, knelt down in reverence and respect to the Blessed Sacrament.
The parish priest of City Parish, Fr Dominic Santhiyagu said that the three stops to venerate the Blessed Sacrament is also a symbolic act to bless the people and town of Penang.
“This is the third year that we had the Mass and procession on the streets” said Fr Dominic.
“The increased turnout this year showed that people do support street processions and they have a love for the Eucharist. A procession on the street is also one way of evengelising and a manifestation of our faith to the public.”
In the meantime, Bishop Sebastian felt that the street procession is an act of faith to share Jesus’ presence and sacrifice to everyone, including non-Catholics.
When the Blessed Sacrament reached the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows, Fr Julien Leow carried it into the church to begin the solemn Benediction.
After benediction, everyone adjourned for dinner.