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Tuesday, June 30, 2015
The Year of Mercy: What is Mercy?
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With the announcement of a Year of Mercy by Pope Francis, we should start by asking ourselves "what is mercy?"  And let us follow up that question with another: "what does mercy require of me?"  Far too many think mercy is a nothing more than a complacency with sin in practice: "God loves me.  I am forgiven.  I can go and not feel bad about my sins."

On the contrary, true mercy is found in prayer and penance.  It is found in our spiritual works of mercy: admonishing sinners to repent, go to Confession, and reunite themselves with the Sacraments.  True mercy is not a "feel good ideal" similar to how the protestants view salvation.  True mercy is inseparable from Catholic notions of penance.

Bishop Fellay in his Letter of May 2015 provided a reflection on True Mercy.  The following an except from that document:
What exactly is [mercy] about? In itself mercy is a word that is dear to the heart of every Catholic, because it designates the most touching manifestation of God’s love for us. In past centuries the apparitions of the Sacred Heart were nothing but a more intense revelation of this mercy of God toward mankind. The same must be said about devotion to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Nevertheless true mercy, which implies this initial, extremely touching movement of God toward the sinner and His misery, continues in a moment of the creature’s conversion to God: “God desires not the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (cf. Ezek 33:11). Hence the Gospels insist on the duty of conversion, renunciation and penance.  Our Lord went so far as to say: “Unless you do penance, you shall all perish” (cf. Lk 13:5).

This call to conversion is the heart of the Gospel, which we find in St. John the Baptist as well as in St. Peter. When sinners, touched by preaching, ask what they must do, they hear only this recommendation: “be converted and do penance.” The Blessed Virgin in her apparitions in recent centuries, both in La Salette and in Lourdes or Fatima, says nothing different: “prayer and penance”.

Now the new preachers of a new mercy insist so much on the first step taken by God toward human beings who are lost because of sin, ignorance and misery that they too often omit this second movement, which must come from the creature: repentance, conversion, the rejection of sin. Ultimately, the new mercy is nothing but complacency about sin. God loves you... no matter what.
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Commemoration of St. Paul
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Each year on June 30th, the day after the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul, the Church liturgically commemorates St. Paul. 

As stated by the great Liturgist Dom Gueranger:
On the twenty-ninth of June, in the year 67, whilst Peter, having crossed the Tiber by the triumphal bridge, was drawing nigh to the cross prepared for him on the Vatican plain, another martyrdom was being consummated on the left bank of the same river. Paul, as he was led along the Ostian Way, was also followed by a group of the faithful who mingled with the escort of the condemned.
His sentence was that he should be beheaded at the Salvian waters. A two miles' march brought the soldiers to a path leading eastwards, by which they led their prisoner to the place fixed upon for his martyrdom. Paul fell on his knees, addressing his last prayer to God; then having bandaged his eyes, he awaited the death-stroke. A soldier brandished his sword, and the apostle's head, as it was severed from the trunk, made three bounds along the ground; three fountains immediately sprang up on these several spots.
Such is the local tradition; and to this day three fountains are to be seen on the site of his martyrdom, over each of which an altar is raised.
 COLLECT PRAYER

O God, You have instructed many nations through the preaching of the blessed apostle Paul. Let the power of his intercession with You help us who venerate his memory this day. Through our Lord...

COMMEMORATION OF SAINT PETER 

O God, You have entrusted the keys of the kingdom of heaven to Your blessed apostle Peter and have given him the power of bishop to bind or to loose. May his intercession free us from the slavery of sin; who lives and rules with God the Father . . .
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Sunday, June 28, 2015
Faces of Christ: Catholic Art Website
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I receive regular updates from the Catholic Artists Society.  Today I received an update worth sharing:
Our latest update: We are now taking donations at the www.Faces-of-Christ.com website or www.Catholic-Artists-Conference.com. With your support now we can make the 100 piece collection U.S. tour of the Faces of Christ from Europe happen in 2016-2017. The conference is a fund raiser and the kick-off to the U.S. tour coming to major cities in the U.S. After Omaha. There will be much media about the subjects discussed at the conference including coverage by EWTN.

We are taking ads in the program to be distributed widely at each tour venue. In addition to Chicago, Washington DC, Denver, Dallas, Pittsburgh, we are looking for venues in San Francisco, New York, Dayton, Hartford, and Philadelphia. Our success depends upon YOU, God Bless.
Please consider supporting the work of this organization to produce and make available truly good (good, true, & beautiful) Catholic art.

One of the beautiful images from the www.Faces-of-Christ.com website is visible at the top of this page.
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Thursday, June 25, 2015
Video: The Traditional Dominican Foundation of Belgium
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As I mentioned previously, I am in the processing of becoming a Third Order Dominican.  The specific community that I will be attached is located in Belgium.

In this video, Fr. Albert, who I know personally, shares some wonderful insight into the spirituality of the Dominican Order.  I share this for those of you who may benefit from knowing more about the mission of St. Dominic's order.

St. Dominic, pray for us!
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To Form Future Priests: The New Seminary Project of the SSPX
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The seminary is all about forming priests. We're a priestly society, we take care of faithful, we take care of parishes, but we need priests to do that.

Of all the projects that we could possibly do in the Society, this new seminary is the most important project.

The formation of the seminarians, which is the formation of the priests, is the formation of the officers of the Church. When you support the formation of the seminarians, you support the building of the Church.

It's fitting, perfectly fitting, that we do all we can, all our best, to build seminaries, and to form vocations, to form future priests, the future of the Church.
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Wednesday, June 24, 2015
10 Ways to Fight Sins Against Purity
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  1. Constant prayer. Hence the admonition of the wise King; As I knew that I could not otherwise be continent, except God gave it, I went to the Lord and besought him. (Wisd. 8:21)
  2. Mortification of the flesh by fasting and abstinence. Jesus says these impure spirits can in no other way be cast out but by prayer and fasting. (Matt. 17:20)
  3. The frequent meditation on the four last things, and on the bitter sufferings of our Lord; for there is, says St. Augustine, no means more powerful and effective against the heat of lust than reflection on the ignominious death of the Redeemer.
  4. The quiet consideration of the temporal and eternal evils which follow from this vice, as already described.
  5. The love and veneration of the Blessed Virgin who is the mother of beautiful love, the refuge of all sinners, of whom St. Bernard says: "No one has ever invoked her in his necessity without being heard."
  6. The careful mortification of the eyes. The pious Job made a covenant with his eyes, that. he would not so much as look upon a virgin. (Job 31:1)
  7. The avoidance of evil occasions, especially intercourse with persons of the other sex. "Remember," says St. Jerome, "that a woman drove out the inhabitants of paradise, and that you are not holier than David, stronger than Samson, wiser than Solomon, who all fell by evil intercourse."
  8. The avoidance of idleness: for idleness, says the proverb, is the beginning of all evil.
  9. The immediate banishing of all bad thoughts by often pronouncing the names of Jesus and Mary, which, as St. Alphonsus Ligouri says, have the special power of driving away impure thoughts.
  10. The frequent use of the holy Sacraments of Penance and of the Altar. This last remedy in particular is a certain cure if we make known to our confessor our weaknesses, and use the remedies he prescribes. The Scripture says that frequent Communion is the seed from which virgins spring, and the table which God has prepared against all temptations that annoy us.
 Source: Fr. Goffine's The Church's Year
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Sunday, June 21, 2015
Why is There a State of Necessity in the Church?
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It's an important question, as souls have the right to obtain the necessary aids for their salvation, particularly sound doctrine and properly administered sacraments.

But the disastrous state of affairs in the Catholic Church today—which constitutes a danger for the Faith—has made the attainment of these aids very difficult, if even impossible.

Inherent to this crisis is the daily dilemma of Catholics having to choose whether to obey the teachings of the Faith or the errors of Modernism.

For their fidelity to Tradition—what the Church has always taught—such Catholics find themselves persecuted and usually unable to obtain the sacraments without a modernist compromise.

This grave crisis of the Faith has led to a state of necessity in the Church and the consequent application of supplied jurisdiction for the salvation of souls.

Source: SSPX.org
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Friday, June 19, 2015
Meditation on the Great Apostacy
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“During this unhappy period there will be laxity in divine and human precepts. Discipline will suffer. The Holy Canons will be completely disregarded and the clergy will not respect the laws of the Church. The Holy Canons and religious dogmas are clouded by senseless questions and elaborate arguments. As a result, no principle at all, however holy, authentic, ancient, and certain it may be, will not remain free of censure, criticism, false interpretations, modifications and delamination by man. These are evil times, century full of dangers and calamities. Heresy is everywhere and the followers of heresy are in power almost everywhere. Bishops, prelates and priests say they are doing their duty, that they are vigilant. – St. Francis of Paola
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Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Can Catholics Have Tattoos?
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"You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh, for the dead, neither shall you make in yourselves any figures or marks: I am the Lord" (Leviticus 19:28).

The above section of Scripture is taken from the Douay Rheims Scriptures.  Some Scripture translations explictly refer to tattoos.  Let's take the RSV-CE for instance for the same line from Leviticus: "You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh on account of the dead or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the LORD."

While it is true that the above prohibition against tattoos was written in the context of the Old Testament Law (the Mosaic Law). While this Law is no longer in force by reason of Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross, we do have to keep in mind the words of the Redeemer Himself: “Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets.  I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17). 

While the Old Testament laws on farming and which crops to keep in your field are no longer in place and while the Laws prohibiting the consumption of pork are no longer in place, all of these Old laws had their fulfillment in the Law of Christ.  Christ came to perfect the Law.  He abolished divorce that was allowed under the Law of Moses in order to perfect the Laws of Matrimony (cf. Matthew 19:8).  Christ also showed us in driving the swine off the cliff that the prohibition on pork was symbolic on the prohibition against sin.  And ultimately these Laws were all done to make the People of God, the Israelites, a holy people set apart from the other nations.  If these were God’s holy people and a special race set aside, then they had to act differently than the other pagan races that were in the ancient world.  Therein lies one of the chief reasons why there were Laws and why we have Laws – to keep us as a special people united to God and separate from those who are not of God.

As a result, while the Leviticus prohibition on tattoos is no longer explicitly prohibited by virtue of the Mosaic Law, tattoos still remain offensive and Catholics should refrain from them?  Why?  Just as the Old Law set aside the People of God for holy things, so too we must set ourselves aside and refrain from certain actions. What makes tattoos wrong? 

In the New Testament we have the revelation of the Son of God and have received the fruits of His redemptive and efficacious Sacrifice on the Cross.  The Church was founded on Pentecost at the Descent of the Holy Ghost, who Christ sent as His Advocate; and we who have been baptized and Confirmed have received within us the gifts of the Holy Ghost.  In this way, we are truly Temples of the Holy Ghost (i.e. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).  As such, we must treat our bodies worthily.  We are not to dress immodestly or give in to sensual pleasures of the flesh, as do the pagans and those who are not of God.  And we too must refrain from tattooing our bodies by virtue of the fact that they are Temples of the Holy Ghost and created in the image of God.  

“Know you not, that your (bodily) members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own (property)?  For you are bought with a great price.  Glorify and bear God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

In an online article Fr. Stephen Somerville addressed much of the above points in his own words.  His conclusion is worth repeating here:

“Is, then, the mark of tattooing lawful for the Catholic?  Not wishing to exaggerate what may be a small matter, I judge that I speak with the mind of the Church when I say that tattooing is at least unseemly for a Catholic. It surely could weaken Faith in Christ for one to place a non-Christ permanent mark on his body.  Our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, says St. Paul.  Let that temple be preserved from unworthy marks”
Image Source: Pinterest
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Saturday, June 13, 2015
St Dominic & the Most Holy Rosary: A Necessary Devotion
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On the Holy Rosary given by Our Lady to St Dominic to spread throughout the entire world. How the enemies of the Church realize the power of the Rosary found in the book of a communist AA-1025. Story of Our Lady of Akita & the Jesuits that survived the atomic bombs in Japan. Pray the Rosary!!!
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Thursday, June 11, 2015
Feast of St. Barnabas
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Greater Double (1955 Calendar): June 11

Today the Church recalls and celebrates the life of St. Barnabas, one of the 72 disciples called by Jesus. After Pentecost and the founding of the Church by the Holy Ghost, the apostle Barnabas was sent to Antioch and there he invited Paul, the former persecutor of God's elect, to be his co-worker.

Inspired by the Holy Ghost, the clergy of Antioch dedicated Barnabas and Paul to the work of converting the Gentiles. Both St. Paul & St. Barnabas labored for many years on Cyprus for the Faith.  And many years later, St. Barnabas followed the same fate as nearly all of the other apostles when he willingly suffered martyrdom. 

Taken from today's Lesson at Mass:
LESSON Acts 11:21-26; 13:1-3

In those days, a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

Prayer:

O God, we are made happy by the merits and intercession of Your blessed apostle Barnabas. May the prayers we offer through him bring us the gift of Your grace. Through our Lord . . .

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
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Wednesday, June 10, 2015
St. Margaret, Queen of Scotland
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SemiDouble (1955 Calendar): June 10

Holy Mother Church again places before us the saintly example of a member of the nobility who sought to follow closely the example of Christ and of His Blessed Mother.  Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Margaret, Queen of Scotland.  May we recall her intercession at this time more than others as the United Kingdom falls further from the grace of God and back into the abyss of paganism.  St. Margaret, pray for us!

The following is taken from the great work of Dom Guaranger in his massive collection on "The Liturgical Year":

SCOTLAND had long been Christian when Margaret was given to her to establish, amidst a population so diversified, and so often at mutual enmity as was hers, that unity which makes a nation.

Ancient Caledonia, defended by her lakes, mountains, and rivers, had, up to the fall of the Roman empire, kept her independence. But, whilst herself inaccessible to invading troops, she had become the refuge of the vanquished of every race and the proscribed of every epoch.

Many an advancing wave, that had paused at the feet of her granite frontiers, had swept pitilessly over the southern provinces of the great British island. Britons, Saxons, and Danes in turn, dispossessed and driven from their homes, fleeing northwards, had  successively crept in, and settling down as best they might, had maintained their own customs in juxtaposition with those of the first inhabitants, adding consequently their own mutual jealousies to the inveterate divisions of the Picts and Scots.

But from the very evil itself the remedy was to corne. God, in order to show that he is master of revolutions just as he is of the surging waves, was about to confide the execution of his merciful designs upon Scotland to such casual instruments as a storm or a political overthrow may sometimes prove to be. At the opening of the eleventh century, Danish invasion had driven from the English shore the sons of the Saxon king, Edmund Ironside. The crowned apostle of Hungary, St Stephen I, generously received the fugitives at his court, welcoming in these helpless children the great-nephews of a saint, namely Edward the Martyr

To the eldest he gave his own daughter in marriage, and the second he affianced, to the niece of St Henry, emperor of Germany. Of this last mentioned union were born three children, Edgar, surnamed Atheling, Christina, afterwards a nun, and Margaret, whose feast the Church is keeping to-day. By the turning tide of fortune, the exiles once more returned to their country, and Edgar was brought to the very steps of the English throne. For in the meantime, the sceptre had passed from the Danish princes back again to the Saxon line, in the person of their uncle, St Edward the Confessor, and by very birthright seemed destined to pass ultimately to Edgar Atheling.

But almost immediately after their return from exile, the death of St Edward and the Norman conquest again banished the royal Saxon family. The ship bearing these noble fugitives, bound for the continent, was driven in an opposite direction by a hurricane, and stranded on the Scottish shore. Edgar Atheling, in spite of the efforts of the Saxon party, was never to raise up the fallen throne of his sires; but his sister, the saint of this day, made conquest of the land whither the storm, God's instrument, had carried her.

Having become the wife of Malcolm III, her gentle influence softened the fierce instincts of the son of Duncan, and triumphed over the barbarism still so dominant in those parts of the country as to separate them utterly from the rest of the known world. The fierce highlander and haughty lowlander, reconciled at last, now followed their gentle queen along hitherto unknown paths, thrown open by her to the light of the Gospel. The strong now bent down to meet the weak or the poor; and all alike, casting aside the rigidity of their hardy race, let themselves be captured by the alluring charms of Christian charity. Holy penitence resumed its rights over the gross instincts of mere nature. The frequentation of the Sacraments, once more brought into esteem, produced seasonable fruits. Everywhere, whether in Church or in State, abuses vanished.

The whole kingdom became one family, whereof Margaret was called the mother; for Scotland was born by her to true civilization. David I (inscribed like his mother in the catalogue of the saints) completed the work begun by her; and another child of Margaret's, alike worthy of her, Matilda of Scotland, surnamed' good Queen Maud,'was married to Henry I of England; and thus an end was put on the English soil to the persistent rivalries of victors and vanquished, by this admixture of Saxon blood with the Norman race.

Prayer:

O God, who didst make the blessed Queen Margaret wonderful for her surpassing charity to the poor, grant that by her intercession and example, Thy love may ever grow in our hearts. Through our Lord . . .

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
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Thursday, June 4, 2015
Star of the Sea Catholic Church: Altar Boy Policy Update
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Source: Star of the Sea Parish from Regina Magazine

Earlier this year on January 31st I contacted the pastor of Star of the Sea Catholic Church in San Francisco, as they had been under liberal attacks for restoring the practice of male-only altar servers.  Yesterday I received an email response from Father that I wish to make known:

My Original Message:
Hello Father, 
I just wanted to send you a note of support to thank you for taking this tough stand.
I go to a parish in Chicago that only has male altar servers.  We've seen a large increase in vocations in the parish.  It's important to note, as you have explained, that altar boys is the long standing tradition of the Church.  It is vital for our Church's future vocations that boys be trained in altar serving.  I know that you do not need reminded of this. 
I just wanted you to know that you are very much supported by many.  And I hope that despite the pressures you may face, that you will stay true to this position. 
May Almighty God protect you and may our Blessed Mother intercede for you amidst those who wish to attack you.

Father's Response:
Dear Matthew,

Thank you for your email in support of Fr. Driscoll and me, and for your prayerful support of our dear Archbishop, Salvatore Cordileone. Since the altar girl controversy broke out in January, I have received hundreds of emails from around California, the entire country, and even several dozen from foreign countries. I cannot respond to all of them personally, so am sending this general letter to you.

Archbishop Cordileone is working hard, and suffering personally with resolute magnanimity, to bring the light of Christ’s Gospel and the beautiful teachings of our Church to his people in San Francisco. He is widely misunderstood and even attacked for it, but accepts this with graceful patience. He is a good father. We at Star of the Sea want to share in this mission, and so have accepted also a part of this suffering. Please pray for us, that we accept the wisdom and perseverance that God, through Our Lady, is offering to us. Personally, I hope that this experience will truly purify me and many others, so that we may all be holy and bring glory to God. All of Jesus, through His Holy Mother.

Yours sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Joseph Illo
The San Francisco Community of St. Philip Neri
at Star of the Sea Parish

Please join me in praying for the parish and those who suffer so much for remaining true to the Church.  May the Crucified Lord protect them, inspire them, and sustain them.
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Traditional Mass Propers: Corpus Christi
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INTROIT Ps. 80:17
He fed them with the finest wheat, alleluia! and filled them with honey from the rock, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! Ps. 80:2. Sing joyfully to God, our helper, sing aloud to the God of Jacob. V. Glory be . . .

COLLECT - O God, we possess a lasting memorial of Your Passion in this wondrous Sacrament. Grant that we may so venerate the mysteries of Your Body and Blood that we may always feel within ourselves the effects of Your redemption; who lives and rules with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.



EPISTLE
I Cor. 11:23-29
Breathren: For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, And giving thanks, broke and said: "Take ye and eat: This is my body, which shall be delivered for you. This do for the commemoration of me." In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: "This chalice is the new testament in my blood. This do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me. For as often as you shall eat this bread and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come." Therefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily eateth and drinketh judgment to himself.

GRADUAL
The eyes of all look hopefully to You, O Lord, and You give them food in due season. V. You open Your hand and fill every living creature with blessing.

Alleluia, alleluia! V. John 6:56-57 My flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, abides in me and I in him, alleluia!

GOSPEL
John 6:56-59

At that time, Jesus said to the crowds of the Jews: "For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me: and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna and are dead. He that eateth this bread shall live for ever."



OFFERTORY
Lev. 21:6
The priests of the Lord offer incense and loaves to God; therefore they shall be sacred to their God and shall not profane His name, alleluia!

SECRET  O Lord, graciously bestow upon Your Church the gifts of unity and peace, which are symbolized in this Sacrifice we offer You. Through our Lord . . .

COMMUNION
I Cor. 11:26-27
As often as you shall eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord, until He comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, alleluia!



POST COMMUNION -  O Lord, grant that we may enjoy the eternal presence of Your divinity, which is foreshadowed by our earthly reception of Your Precious Body and Blood; who lives and rules with God the Father . . .

Sources: Saint Andrew Daily Missal and the Marian Missal , 1945

Note: For more information on the Theology of Corpus Christ, please click here.  And for information on this day's processions, please click hereAnd click here to see videos of processions.
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