The Catholic Feast of Corpus Christi - The Body of Christ- was begun in the 13th Century when a French Augustinian nun began pestering her bishop about dreams that she had had concerning a 'spot on the moon.'
The Spot on the moon reflected an absence of a celebration for Christ that brought the entire Church together.
St. Paul wrote that the Church is the Body of Christ - a composite of us all.
In 1977, witnessed a celebration of Corpus Christi in Castleisland, County Kerry - the town from which my grandfather emigrated to Liverpool and later to America in 1912.
I had just completed my second year of teaching at Bishop McNamara High School in Kankakee, IL and used my savings and tax return to go Ireland with Moose Gilmartin and Mike Lally. Ireland was then very Third World - 'Mexico with Micks,' was how Mike Lally termed it. The Irish and the Mexicans are very much alike.
Mike Lally had peeled off North to visit with his family in County Mayo, leaving Leo Man Moose Gilmartin and me in the Kingdom of Kerry! Our cultural and philosophical inclinations herded the two of us toward Licensed Premises! In Ireland, you could grab a beer while 'waiting for a head of cabbage to be cut out back' - with in the appropriate hours of course.
Castleisland, County Kerry boasts the widest street in Ireland outside of O'Connell Street in Dublin and is a market town - thus, being a Market Town - Market Hours made Castleisland a Pintsman's Oasis. You could get a beer before during and after the next minute. Moose and I availed ourselves of this economic liberalism.
Moose and I had punished the Smithwicks and the Scoops of Black ( Guinness) at my cousin Pat Hickey's Silver Dollar Saloon and then crossed to Terry Teahan's Old Chicago Pub on the Main Drag of Castleisland, and then to the Par Three Three ( Pitch 'n Putt Golf Course) when the Garda came around after hours. Dawn came up like thunder!
Corpus Christi, so. Brogans on.
'Jesus. . .'
He's waiting, so.
The entire town and country merged on the Church of Saints Stephan and John* and the procession was wonderful. We would have missed this and slept off a hangover, had not Margaret Hickey shouted 'Mass, Lads!'
The Feast of Corpus Christi was June 11, 2009. No one was near me to shout 'Mass, Lad!' I forgot once again.
I'll be at Sacred Heart Catholic Mission Church with my friends from all over my life at 10:30 AM for The Feast of the Body and and Blood of Christ
I looked up some Kerry notes last night and found a reflection by a Father Kevin which is simplicity and beauty itself.
Two little reflections on this weekend Feast of Corpus Christi; Fr. Kevin writes:
Notice one another.
People today are crying out for recognition. They want to be persons among persons. They want to be noticed, not in a showy way, or because they have money or status, but just because they are human beings. Each of us is on a pilgrimage. We are seeking to encounter others who have the same needs as ourselves. The greatest need of all is the need to be loved. But we pass one another by without noticing, without the slightest sign of recognition.
As Christians we are united by a bond so close that St. Paul called the Christian community “The Body of Christ.” It is time we began to notice one another. Each person is a brother or a sister in Christ. Each person must be recognised. Each person must be given some sign of friendship, be it only a smile or a nod of the head.
Living in the Present sense
A visitor to Atlanta, Georgia noticed a restaurant listed as the ‘Church of God Grill.’ Curiosity aroused he dialled the number and learned that it had begun as a mission church. To help pay the bills they began selling chicken dinners after Church on Sundays. Business grew so much that they had to cut back and eventually close the church, keeping only the name it started with – The Church of God Grill. A true story which reminds us of the importance of keeping our priorities focused. Today’s feast (The Body and Blood of Christ) helps. It focuses on bread. Just as in Jesus’ time it is a staple food, a basic part of most meals. However, in the time of Jesus, there were no forks or spoons. People would never defile themselves by putting a piece of metal in their mouths, instead they used bread. In understanding that, we may comprehend a little better what Jesus was saying. Just as one couldn’t have a meal without bread, we cannot really live without Christ. In a world full of choice and distractions with the ‘bread’ of money and fame, we celebrate a feast named ‘Corpus Christi’ the ‘Body of Christ’ Will He be there only in name?
These Kerry Notes from Father Kevin are great as well.
THANKS: A special thank you to Patsie and friends who organised our first Cemetery Mass of ’09 in St. Joseph’s Cemetery on the June Bank Holiday. Very many thanks too to all who attended the Mass. May all who are buried there rest in peace, and may they enjoy the delights of God’s Kingdom.
FLEADH CHEOIL CHIARRAí commences on June 16th and concludes on June 21st. The 10.30 a.m. Mass in the Cathedral on Sunday next will be mostly in Irish and is organised by Comhaltas with choir and special music in honour of the Fleadh Cheoil We wish all involved with the Fleadh Cheoil every success and enjoyment. A Cead Míle Fáilte to all visitors attending the Fleadh. Cheoil.
SECOND COLLECTION: A Second Collection will be taken up at all Masses this weekend to help off set the expenses of Ireland hosting the Eucharistic Congress in 2012. Your generous support is very much appreciated.
EXAMS: Our prayerful good wishes and encouragement to all students still doing exams. The following prayer for you this week:
O God help me during my exams to remember the things which I have learned and studied. Help me to remember well and to think clearly. Help me not be so nervous or excited that I will do myself an injustice. Keep me calm and clear headed. Help me to try hardest and to do my best.
REMINDER: Fr. Kevin has been given his own column in the Killarney Outlook. It comes out each Friday. The column has been going since Holy Week.
CARERS ASSOCIATION: If you would like to nominate a Carer for their extraordinary levels of care they provide for a loved one; Application forms can be got from The Carers Association
PARISH BINGO: Every Thursday night in St. Mary’s Parish Hall. Visitors most welcome.
MUCKROSS COMMUNITY CENTRE ANNUAL OPEN DAY: 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday 21st. Everybody in Muckross encourage to bring a picnic.
Killarney Le Cheilé Intercultural Festival: A fun filled family friendly gathering in St. Brendan’s Field on Sunday 21st June from 1p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free, and everyone is welcome.
PIGEONS GONE: Thankfully the Pigeons have left the Cathedral. After the drawn match in the Park they took flight. Maybe they were from Cork!
*Church of SS Stephen and John
Co. Kerry, Ireland