Measured by Church time, the solemnity of the The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ is quite young dating from the mid-thirteenth-century. For hundreds of years, in fact, it was commonly referred to as nova sollemnitas, “the new solemnity” (The Liturgy and Time, 104). This celebration has been given many names over the centuries: feast of the Eucharist, feast of the Most Precious Sacrament, even feast of God. In France it is still commonly known as the Fete-Dieu. The solemnity developed at about the same time as the elevations of the consecrated elements during Mass, and it arose out of the desire of the faithful to see the Blessed Sacrament at a time when they did not often receive it. The solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ is an expression of our Catholic faith in the real presence of the risen Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Yet, this celebration is also outward-looking, carrying the liturgy out of the Church and into the streets.
Taken from our June 14, 2009 bulletin.