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The Feast was first celebrated in the 13th century. The feast began locally, and the Pope of the time made it available for the whole Church. It encouraged reverence in church where the consecrated host was preserved in a prominent place for worship and for ceremonies like Benediction where it was the focus of attention. It also became a proud statement of Catholic identity. .... Over the past century, and particularly in the Second Vatican Council, the Church has emphasised more strongly the presence of Christ within the community, which Paul called the Body of Christ. In this vision all Catholics are active as well as receptive in the celebration of the Eucharist. It has also given strong weight to Christ’s action in the Eucharist. Christ is present, not simply in the consecrated bread and wine, but as the one who forgives, speaks, feeds, gathers together and makes present his offering on the Cross. In this fuller understanding of the Eucharist Christ is present in the bread and wine because he is active in the Church. In the Eucharist he calls us to prayer and reverence. He also calls us to follow his way in feeding the poor and giving spirit to the excluded and in taking up our own cross. The Feast of Corpus Christi is a feast of its time. It is also a Feast for every time that encourages us to pray, to wonder at Christ’s continuing gift to us through his presence and his continuing activity, and to follow him in giving ourselves to those in need. (Australian Catholics)


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