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Mass for the Feast of Corpus Christi

Cardinal Vincent Nichols celebrates Mass for the Feast of Corpus Christi live from Westminster Cathedral

Cardinal Vincent Nichols celebrates Mass for the Feast of Corpus Christi live from Westminster Cathedral. For countless believers unable to get to church, a live celebration of Mass is of the greatest importance, especially on this feast celebrating the Real Presence of the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ in the elements of the Eucharist. Whilst some Catholic churches have been streaming masses on the internet, this will be the first live radio broadcast, and the first radio outside broadcast of a church service in the UK, since the lockdown. Listeners will be able to worship in spirit with the Cardinal. Whilst social distancing rules prevent churches from opening, the service will take place behind closed doors and with no congregation present, apart from concelebrant (Fr Daniel Humphreys) and a single reader - all socially distanced.

The music for the mass will be played from recordings from a BBC studio so listeners will be able to experience the music of the Mass in context. The Gloria, Sanctus and Benedictus will be sung to a setting "Ave Regina Caelorum" by Victoria, recorded in 2004 by the Choir of Westminster Cathedral. The communion anthem - Byrd's Ave verum corpus - will again be a recording from the choir's extensive discography. The readings for the day are Deuteronomy 8:2-3,14-16 and John 6:51-58. Producers: Philip Billson and Andrew Earis.

Alleluia sing to Jesus - CD Your Favourite Hymns - (Liverpool Cathedral Choir, Massed choirs from Merseyside)
Gloria from Ave Regina Caelorum - from Ave Regina Caelorum by Victoria- CD Missa Ave Regina Caelorum - Westminster Cathedral
Verses from Psalm 147 CD: Vexilla Regis - Westminster Cathedral Choir
Ave Verum Corpus-from Ave Regina Caelorum by Victoria - CD Missa Ave regina caelorum - Westminster Cathedral Choir
Missa Ave regina caelorum - Sanctus- from Ave Regina Caelorum by Victoria -CD Missa Ave regina caelorum
Missa Ave regina caelorum - Benedictus- from Ave Regina Caelorum by Victoria- CD Missa Ave regina caelorum
Agnus Dei from Ave Regina Caelorum- from Ave Regina Caelorum by Victoria- CD Missa Ave regina caelorum

38 minutes

Last on

Sun 14 Jun 2020 08:10

Sunday Worship- Mass for the Feast of Corpus Christi

This script cannot exactly reflect the transmission, as it was prepared before the service was broadcast. It may include editorial notes prepared by the producer, and minor spelling and other errors that were corrected before the radio broadcast.It may contain gaps to be filled in at the time so that prayers may reflect the needs of the world, and changes may also be made at the last minute for timing reasons, or to reflect current events. Only those parts of the script which are not published copyright are given.

~ HYMN: Alleluia sing to Jesus,  

~ CARDINAL INTRODUCTION:I welcome you all to this celebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi.This morning, together, we praise God our Father for the great miracle of the presence of Jesus, the Eternal Son, in the Eucharist, brought about by the power of the Holy Spirit, to be our food for eternal life. In doing so we remember those who died in the tragic Grenfell Tower fire, three years ago today. We remember all who were injured there and all who still today live with the trauma of that disaster. 

MUSIC: Verses from Psalm 147 

~CARDINAL:These last three months have been a very testing time. Whatever words we use: ‘lock down’, ‘social distancing’, ‘self-isolation’, they all point to pressure on our relationships. This is a time in which all our relationships are being tested. 
In some circumstances, we may be seeing too much of each other. For others, it is the absence, the impossibility of seeing each other that is so stressful. In both situations we have had to face new challenges and find new ways of sustaining each other and our love and friendship.

So too with the Lord, Jesus Christ.
For most people this has been a time of fashioning new patterns of prayer and relationship with the Lord, or, better, recapturing some old treasures. Even so, it has been impossible to come into the church, into his sacramental presence, for our praise and prayer, for our comfort and consolation. This we feel very keenly on the Feast of Corpus Christi.
It has also been impossible to receive him in Holy Communion in the celebration of the Mass. Such a long Eucharistic fast. For many this time of absence has made our hearts grow in longing. How much we long to come together to receive again the life in Christ of which the Gospel speaks.
‘Anyone who does eat my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life’That person ‘lives in me and I in him’, says Jesus.
‘Whoever eats me will draw life from me’, he tells us.

Tomorrow our churches may open again, for our private, individual prayer. Again we can come into this sacramental presence of the Lord, in the sacred space of the church. Again we can kneel before him and open our hearts to him, knowing his loving gaze and merciful embrace.

This is such a moment of grace, not only for us individually, but also, I believe, for our society. The wide open doors of a church are a reminder that there is more to life than the haste of a busy day, and even the loving circle of family or friends. They draw us in, so as to remember that all our days are passed in the presence of God. To be aware of that presence enriches our lives, restores stability in our souls, engenders compassion for those most in need, lifts us up when our failure weighs heavily upon our hearts. 

The Eucharist is the fullness of that presence of the Lord. So we long to celebrate Mass again, the gift which is the focus of this great Feast. We long for the day on which we can gather together again around the altar and take part, directly and physically, in that celebration. Remember the words of St Augustine: ‘See on the altar the sacrament of who you are and of what you are to become.’ In the Eucharist, then, we learn again what it is to be truly human, what it is that makes us great, what it is that gives us hope. We learn again that Jesus is our Way, our Truth and, as he promises so clearly today, our Life. Yes, we have benefitted from all the advantages of the internet to share in the Mass as best we can. But there is so much more.

In these days there is much talk of recreating our society in a ‘new normal’. No going back to the old ways, we say. Many demonstrating on our streets want new ways, and an end to an ingrained prejudice against black members of our society. That is a crucial challenge. Such new growth needs good soil and good roots. The deepest source of our renewal lies in all that is given to us in Christ Jesus: the forgiveness of our sins, the witness of a life poured out for others, the promise of fidelity unto death and, yes, into life everlasting. 

As we celebrate this great Feast, we pray to our loving Father that his blessing, given with ultimate power in the death and resurrection of his Son, may flow across our society. Today we rejoice that, in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Son is for ever with us in this most Wonderful of all Sacraments, the Sacrament of his most Holy Body and His Precious Blood. Amen.

CHOIR: Ave verum corpus, Byrd 

~ CHOIR:Sanctus from Missa Ave Regina Caelorum by Victoria 
 CHOIR: Agnus Dei from Missa Ave Regina Caelorum by Victoria

~ ORGAN:De Grigny:  Peter Stevens


  • Sun 14 Jun 2020 08:10

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