Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Corpus Christi

A Lego Hari Raya

Can't quite remember the last time I attended a Corpus Christi procession at church. Possibly close to a decade. In case you're not familiar with Roman Catholic liturgy, Corpus Christi is the liturgical solemnity celebrating the reality of the Body and Blood of Christ, i.e the Eucharist. In simple terms, the little wafer is Body of Christ, and the wine is the Blood of Christ. Mass started at 6:00 PM, where mum and I barely had two hours of rest before heading out to church. You see, we had spent the whole morning at Bukit Bintang, shopping at Pavilion and Lot 10. Five hours, and not a single thing caught our eyes. Ate a simple lunch at Dashi Dining, Isetan the Japan Store. Picked out some yummy stuff like Nagoya style chicken chop which is a rolled chicken dish with burdock, Sanma-Eringii roll, chicken skewers, and assorted oden (burdock fish paste roll and konjac). All were yummy with their use of dashi, the heart of Japanese cuisine.


Back to the church procession. Usually, the procession is something that is done on foot within the compound of the church, but this year, the priest decided to venture out into the neighbourhood, to better proclaim the message of Christ. At about 7:30 PM, the Blessed Sacrament was displayed in a monstrance and brought out to a waiting pick-up truck that was be-decked with flowers and LED lights. As usual the priest does not touch the monstrance with his bare hands but used a humeral veil to cover his hands. A little tent of white linen was also installed on the back of the pick-up truck to shield the Blessed Sacrament. Normally, the priest just walks with the monstrance in his hand, with four people holding up the tent around him.

Corpus Christi Procession I

The procession consisted of youths carrying two banners at the head. Followed by altar boys and flower girls. Then came the pick-up truck with the Blessed Sacrament and a kneeling priest who ensures that the monstrance doesn't fall off. Next came the communion ministers, choir, various church ministries, and ministries, all with their standard bearers. At the back was the laity and truck carrying a portable generator for lighting and the sound system. The route covered a distance of 2.4 KM around Taman Mayang, and police outriders came to ensure a smooth traffic flow. All along the way, there were church traffic wardens, volunteers, and St. John's Ambulance members who kept an eye on things.

Corpus Christi Procession III

The procession stopped at various points for bible readings, and prayers. The flower girls would step forward to shower the Blessed Sacrament with flower petals, and the priest would expose the Blessed Sacrament to the crowd. At each point, a different priest would mount the pick-up truck, depending on the language of the prayers to be read. A rotation was done with English, Mandarin, Bahasa Malaysia, and Tamil. As the procession moved, hymns would be sung, and the Divine Mercy Chaplet prayed. As we moved through the residential areas, some curious neighbours came out to have a look, while most just ignored us. Many migrant workers came out to film, while some motorists opened their windows to ask what it's all about. Back at the church, the procession was closed with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, which is traditionally accompanied with St. Thomas Aquinas' classic hymn, Pange Lingua.

Corpus Christi Procession II

By 9:30 PM, the whole liturgy was completed and we were given pre-packed meals for late dinner. According to my smartphone pedometer, I had walked 12,900 steps that day, but the procession only contributed 5,540 steps. The rest came from shopping. Lol.


Twilight Man said...

Thanks for sharing this interesting rituals.
You are a good son.

William said...

Lotsa liturgy in Catholicism.