Feast of Corpus Christi 2023

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Bishop Rhoades delivered the following homily at Mass ending the eight-day Cross-Diocesan Eucharistic Procession on Corpus Christi Sunday, June 11, at St. Matthew Cathedral in South Bend: 

Last Sunday, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, after Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne, Father Stephen Felicichia carried the Blessed Sacrament, followed by a group of the faithful, to Saint Patrick Church in Arcola, thus beginning a cross-diocesan Eucharistic Procession and Pilgrimage. This past week, people joined the procession as it moved then from Arcola to Churubusco, then on to Albion, Ligonier, Goshen, Elkhart, Mishawaka, and ending the 100-mile trek this morning here at Saint Matthew Cathedral on this Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi. Father Stephen and all who processed with him the whole 100 miles or part of those miles walked with the Lord through streets, on sidewalks and fields, stopping at parish churches each night, celebrated Mass and Adoration daily, reaching the end of the pilgrimage here today on this feast when the Church celebrates with special devotion the gift of the Most Holy Eucharist. I pray that this cross-diocesan pilgrimage, which has been a pilot preparation for the National Eucharistic Pilgrimages next July, will bring many blessings to our diocese. 

A week from tomorrow, Bishop Andrew Cozzens and I will be meeting with Pope Francis in Rome, God-willing (if the Holy Father recovers well from his recent surgery) where he will bless the monstrance that will be used at the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis next July. 

On this feast of Corpus Christi, we heard in the first reading about the miraculous bread from heaven that God provided for His people during their 40-year sojourn in the desert until they arrived at the promised land. The Israelites did not know what it was. That’s why they called it manna, which, in Hebrew, means “What is it?” In the book of Psalms and in the book of Wisdom, it is called “the bread of the angels,” “panis angelicus.” It was bread from heaven, given by God. After the people ate this miraculous bread, they reserved what was left and kept it reverently in the tabernacle, the portable temple in which they worshiped God, where they kept the Ark of the Covenant. They considered the manna to be holy, so sacred that they reserved it in the Holy of Holies itself, alongside the ten commandments and the staff of Aaron. For them, the manna was not ordinary bread. It was the bread of the angels, bread from heaven, and a foretaste of the promised land. 

In the Gospel today, Jesus recalled the manna, the miraculous bread from heaven during the Exodus. Keep in mind that the Jewish people expected that when the Messiah came, there would be a return of the manna. They believed that the Messiah, the new Moses