This weekend we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Body and Blood of Christ. Three of our five First Holy Communion Masses take place this weekend: St Patrick’s School on Saturday morning at 10.00 am and St Anthony’s School on Sunday at 9.00 am (both celebrated at St Peter’s). Our Lady’s Church will celebrate First Holy Communion for the children of Our Lady & St Teresa’s School at the regular 9.30 am Mass on Sunday. We welcome all these children to the table of the Eucharist and pray their parents will honour their Baptismal promise to bring their children to Mass in the practice of their Faith.
Our own disposition for the reception of Holy Communion is something we should not neglect. I wonder how many of us arrive in time to pray before Mass for God’s help to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus in a state of grace and hungry for the food we will consume. A one hour fast before Mass is advised (except for the elderly or sick). When receiving the Body of Christ we should do so with due reverence. Bow as a sign of respect. Respond to the words “The Body of Christ” with your “Amen”. Receive the Body on the tongue or the hand but do not try to take the host from the priest or minister. Consume the host in front of the priest or minister – do not walk off with it. Intinction is not permitted in the Archdiocese of Birmingham. Reception from the Chalice is optional but those who do receive just a sip of the Precious Blood. Some people take a gulp and almost empty the Chalice thereby denying others from receiving it. How many of us offer prayers of thanksgiving after Holy Communion and after Mass. Considering that Sunday Mass is, for many, the only time in Church among fellow pilgrims it is a shame that some people seem to arrive late or leave early. We have more need of God than he does of us, but he is patient and loving and waits for us to spend time with him.
The conflagration of the block of flats in London was as much of a shock as the recent atrocities in Manchester and London. Over the last few weeks our nation has been shaken by these tragic events. Let us continue to offer our prayers for the victims, the wounded and the bereaved; and also the emergency services: nurses, doctors, police and members of the fire brigades.
This weekend the Pump Room Gardens opposite St Peter’s is filled by the Peace Festival. The theme of peace is particularly appropriate at this time and something we all seek in our lives and in our world today. Our Masses will also reflect on peace with special prayers. There is a Pastoral Letter from Archbishop Bernard this weekend and a few copies will be available by St Anthony’s statue (also on Archdiocesan website).