Newsletter 11

 

Feast of Corpus Christi

 The Eucharist

This feast is a very important one celebrated by the Church which commemorates the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the greatest of all the Sacraments.  In fact the Eucharist is commemorated every Sunday but this Feast emphasises even more its importance.  The Vatican II document Lumen Gentium describes the Eucharist as “the source and summit” (Para.11) of the Christian life.

 

A Holy Day of Obligation, this Feast always fell on the Thursday following Trinity Sunday but in recent years, it has been transferred to the following Sunday.  Often, there are processions still held on the Thursday.  For example, there is always a special Mass and Procession at Arundel Cathedral on the actual Thursday.  This is also the site of a Carpet of Flowers created down the centre aisle by the women who belong to the Cathedral parish.

 

Feast of SS John Fisher and Thomas More  22nd  June

These two men died for their Catholic faith during the time of the Reformation. 

 

Thomas More was Henry VIII’s Lord Chancellor and was required by the King to accept him as the Head of the Catholic Church.  Thomas’s conscience would not allow him to sign the Oath of Supremacy, therefore, Henry had him beheaded.  He is a universal example of someone who was prepared to die rather than go against his own conscience.  On 31st Oct. 2000, Pope John Paul II declared him Patron of Statesmen and Politicians. 

 

John Fisher was the Bishop of London who also refused to sign this Oath and was also beheaded.  He had been tutor to the young Prince Henry, son of Henry VII who later became Henry VIII. At the time when Henry wanted his marriage to Catherine of Aragon annulled, John Fisher became the chief supporter of Catherine, appearing on her behalf at the ecclesiastical court, stating he was ready to die on behalf of the indissolubility of marriage, which more than displeased the King.  After much conflict between King and Bishop, John Fisher was beheaded.

 

Feast of SS Peter and Paul 29th June

St. Peter was originally called Simon but Jesus changed his name to Peter which means ‘rock’.  “That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matt. 16:16-19).

Christ gave him authority over the whole Church, the Pope being the direct successor to St. Peter.  He was martyred in Rome under Nero in A.D. 66, thought to have been crucified upside down.  He is buried where St Peter’s Basilica now stands.

St. Paul is known as the Apostle to the Gentiles as he recognised his calling to preach to non Jews.  He was originally involved in persecuting Christians until his conversion on the road to Damascus (see Acts Chapter 9). He later used all his time and energy preaching the good news to different groups of people.  The Bible includes several of the Letters he sent to these groups after he had left them.  Paul was eventually beheaded and buried in Rome where the Basilica of St Paul outside the Walls now stands