Corpus Christi: Remembering the ‘wonderful gift’ of Jesus in the Eucharist

Bishop Louis Tylka presides at a Holy Hour at St. Patrick Church of Merna in Bloomington on June 11. The first-ever Corpus Christi procession for Bloomington/Lincoln Vicariate could not take place as planned due to the weather, but the bishop said that just gave people an opportunity to carry Jesus in their hearts. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

Jesus made it clear that he was more powerful than wind and rain as celebrations for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ — also as Corpus Christi in Latin — continued throughout the Diocese of Peoria on June 11.

But he also made it clear that he wants nothing more than for us to participate in his life fully, according to Bishop Louis Tylka, who presided at a Holy Hour at St. Patrick Church of Merna in Bloomington for parishioners from the Bloomington/Lincoln Vicariate. The original plan was for him to lead a Corpus Christi procession around McGraw Park, next to Central Catholic High School.

“Perhaps it’s God’s plan that we don’t get to walk around carrying Jesus because we have to carry Jesus in our hearts in this Holy Hour,” he said during his reflection.

A number of area priests were also present, including Father Dustin Schultz, pastor and vicar forane, and Father Matthew Deptula, parochial vicar, and heard confessions during and after eucharistic adoration that afternoon.


“We are here because the Lord is a part of our lives, but more so because he invites us to be a part of his life,” Bishop Tylka said, noting that the distinction is important. If Jesus is part of our life then we’re in control, but if we’re part of his life he has the control and should.

During a Corpus Christi procession that drew priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful from throughout the Illinois Valley, pilgrims followed Jesus from St. Hyacinth Church to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, both in LaSalle. (Provided photo)

“Jesus is the one who says to us, ‘Share in my life. Share in who I am. I am the living bread that came down from heaven.”

Being part of Jesus’ life also means accepting his passion, sacrifice and death, as well as his resurrection, the bishop said.

“He wants us to participate in all of his life, humbling ourselves for others as he did. . . . Living for others as he did. Giving his life for others. Showing compassion,” Bishop Tylka explained. “Feeding the hungry, healing the sick, offering love, offering mercy. Totality in Jesus’ life is what we’re called to participate in.”

He acknowledged that we don’t have the supernatural graces and power that Jesus had, but said we still have gifts and talents that God has given us to share.

“So how we live our life in, with and for the Lord makes a difference, not just in our lives but in those that we encounter,” Bishop Tylka said.


The weather also forced the Corpus Christi procession planned for the streets around Corpus Christi Church and through downtown Galesburg to move inside. Father Lee Brokaw, pastor, said he felt guilty about making the call, especially since parishioners of Corpus Christi, Immaculate Heart of Mary and St. Patrick in Galesburg, and Sacred Heart in Abingdon had worked so hard on the altars that would line the route.

Father Lee Brokaw lifts the monstrance in blessing during a Mass for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ at Corpus Christi Church in Galesburg. (The Catholic Post/Robin Heiar)

In the end, “it was quite beautiful.”

“It allowed people who are a little less mobile and people who were going to be able to walk to be blessed by Jesus,” he told The Catholic Post, noting that he stopped at each section of pews in the church to offer a blessing to those sitting there. “It was really awesome.”

He added that the four parishes were well represented at the Mass by parishioners and altar servers.

As the National Eucharistic Revival enters its second year, which focuses on parish renewal, Father Brokaw is encouraging people at Mass to ask themselves, “How am I approaching and receiving Jesus? How am I being intentional about how I receive him — from my bowing to my genuflection to how I receive him either on the tongue or the hand?”

That extends to outside the church, he said.

“When I drive by churches do I make the sign of the cross,” Father Brokaw asked. “You can’t really drive anywhere in Galesburg without driving by a Catholic church. Do I make the sign of the cross every time I drive by?”

Being intentional with our bodies communicates to our mind, “Wow. This is Jesus,” he said.


Members of Sacred Heart in Granville and St. Patrick in Hennepin were among those who were still able to take “Christ to the world.” They accompanied Father Patrick DeMeulemeester, pastor, through the streets of Granville as they witnessed that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist.

“We pray that Jesus’ presence in the streets will bless all those who live and work here,” they said in a message.

In LaSalle, the priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful from throughout the Illinois Valley gathered at St. Hyacinth Church and walked in procession to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. Father Tom Otto, pastor of the LaSalle Catholic parishes, said they stopped at various homes along the route so that Jesus could bless the people there. One of them was a family whose daughter had just been diagnosed with cancer.

In Peterstown, Father Jeff Windy, parochial vicar, carried the Diocesan Traveling Monstrance in a procession at Sts. Peter and Paul Church. The monstrance had been at the church for a Holy Hour on June 8 and was allowed to remain for the feast of Corpus Christi.

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