St. Patrick’s Church to have Corpus Christi procession |

St. Patrick’s Church to have Corpus Christi procession

One of Rev. Sylvester Kwiatkowski’s earliest childhood memories is that of his mother decorating the altar of their church in Poland with flowers for the Feast of Corpus Christi ” Latin for “body of Christ.”

The Catholic feast commemorates the belief in the transformation of bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ during Mass; it’s a national holiday in Poland, Kwiatkowski said.

On Sunday Kwiatkowski, the new priest at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Grass Valley, will lead his congregation in a procession down South Church Street for the first time in the history of his parish to celebrate the feast of his childhood.

“Catholics emphasize the importance of the body and blood of Christ,” Kwiatkowski said. By celebrating the feast of Corpus Christi, “the faithful has a deeper understanding and belief in the Holy Eucharist,” Kwiatkowski said.

During the ritual of the Eucharist, or Holy Communion, Catholics perceive the transformation of bread and wine as real and not symbolic, Kwiatkowski said. That issue has been a matter of theological debate in some Christian denominations.

During Sunday’s procession, a piece of the Eucharist wafer will be carried in an ornate vessel called a monstrance. The procession starts at St. Patrick’s Church after the 6:30 p.m. Mass and will continue down South Church Street to Neal Street, then return to the church, Kwiatkowski said.

During the procession, portions from the Gospels describing the Last Supper will be read, Kwiatkowski added.

The idea of having a procession ” a feature of many Corpus Christi celebrations worldwide ” came from the Bishop of the Sacramento Diocese, “who wishes to promote devotion to the Holy Eucharist,” Kwiatkowski said.

Kwiatkowski said he’s unsure how many people will participate in Sunday’s procession, though about 300 to 500 people attend each of the three Sunday Masses at St. Patrick’s.

“Everybody is invited to the procession ” whether Catholic or non-Catholic,” Kwiatkowski said. “This is a community event.”

To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail or call 477-4229.

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