Corpus Domini, FYI

May 31, 2010 / Events

Corpus Domini, FYI

After evening Mass on the lawn of the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterno, the “ecumenical Mother Church,” the Corpus Domini procession takes worshipers to Santa Maria Maggiore, another Papal basilica and the largest church in the world devoted to the Virgin Mary. This solemn celebration packs a Holy punch.


The object (and Subject) of the event is the Ostia (the Eucharistic Host given during communion,) consecrated for the occasion, and carried from one Basilica to the other in an ostensorio (an ornate display vessel.) The name, Corpus Domini, Latin for “Body [and blood] of the Lord,” occurs roughly one week and a half after Pentecost and is lead by the Pope, the Bishop of Rome.


For Roman Catholics, Christ is believed to be actually present in the Host, symbolic of the last supper when Jesus says to his disciples: “this is my body (and blood) that will be given up for you so that sins can be forgiven.” Corpus Domini is about all of that… Just ask the Man in charge.




by Alejandra Fabris

— Contributed by Alejandra Fabris, writer, American University of Rome Senior, Italian Notebook Editorial Intern.

9 Responses to “Corpus Domini, FYI”

  1. Patricia Cardellio

    thank you for the historical updates on what is going on in Italy.

  2. Frank Scaramella


  3. Laurent Beaulieu

    I was taught (1961) that it was God the father himself in the host of not is Son.

  4. garrett

    When I was a boy I had the temerity to ask our priest if it was “really the body & blood of christ, a man who died 2000 years ago. Or was it just, more reasonably, a piece of bread, a symbol of him. The priest didn’t hesitate. He said “of course it’s the actual “body & blood etc.” That response started me on a 50 year intellectual journey that led, ultimately and reluctantly, to atheism. When the truth was laid before me I couldn’t avoid it. I was confronted with the way things really are. I was comfortable as a christian but ultimately it was a false, empty philosophy. It was tough to leave christianity behind but reason compelled me to do so. I simply had no choice if I wanted to be honest.
    The emails we all get from Italian Notebook are charming, to be sure, and I look forward to them everyday. However, have you catholics ever really considered what it is you are REQUIRED to believe? By definition a catholic MUST believe in ghosts (albeit holy!), the supernatural, virgin births, and a whole host of other preposterous things. Come on! Look at yourself. It’s ridiculous. Do not be offended by my “holding your feet to the fire”. Somebody needs to call you out on these silly, medieval superstions. Grow up, intellectually. It’s ultimately bronze age philosophy!!!!!

  5. Alejandra


    No discussion on the subject is possible without some essential clarifications on the matter at hand. The real presence of Christ in the Eucharist does not refer to the physical body of the historical Christ, the man, but to the action of transubstantiation. The Biblical founding of the doctrine–potent obviously only as an article of faith–is the following verse: Mathew 28:20(“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”) From this bases, the doctrine of transubstantiation has its development in centuries of revelation. Faith in this doctrine does not entail an intellectual quest but the good will to be transformed by God into another person, similar in charity to Christ. The best test, the best “holding of the feet to the fire” of a doctrine or a philosophy is not how reasonable it sounds on paper, for example, like Marxism, but what fruits it gives when it is genuinely put in practice. In this, compare Mother Theresa with Stalin.

  6. garrett

    Hello to you Alejandra!
    I appreciate and respect your dispassionate views as stated. It is good to get a response that doesn’t, for a change, demonize atheism or the atheist. Just so you know, I respect anyone who lives according to their faith. I am a mechanist and I believe all things/events unfold in a naturalistic fashion. However, unlike the true believer, I am the first to admit I and my beliefs may be wrong/inaccurate/mistaken. So here’s to you and I and all who will engage in reasoned debate. Good luck and much love to you. g

  7. Rita Jacoby

    It is very difficult in this day & age to be a “good Catholic”. The rules are too obsolete & have not been updated for today’s world. Many of my friends who still practice the religion use the “Chinese Restaurant” method….one from column A; one from column B. They pick & choose what they want to observe & call themselves good catholics. My mother is a really observant/good catholic….it comes easy for her she is 97!!

  8. paula rothermel

    i left the catholic church a long time ago..i felt if i couldn’t/wouldn’t follow the rules, i wouldn’t be in the club.spirituality is between the person and god…a pope/priest/bishop is not needed to interpret things(esp. when they are interpreted in a way to promote the need for the hierarchy). mia madre is also a catholic, but she attends other services if she can’t get to a catholic mass and is 96.5 years old. she has a good, ecumenical attitude.

  9. Hello
    Hoping to travel next May and noticed our trip falls on the week of Corpus Christi. Wondered what is it like before and after that wonderful day? Is it really crazy busy all week, travellers from all over or is it really the one day that is understandably busy and the other days are quieter. Want to go so badly now to see this procession but with two kids, it will be too much I think? Your thoughts? Thanks and God bless you!


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