BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – The sacred Feast of Corpus Christi was honored and celebrated at Saint Francis DeSales Catholic Church in downtown Beckley, representing the real presence of the body of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, or Holy Communion.
“Today we had a Eucharistic procession, it’s a way to express our faith, that when we receive Holy Communion, we receive Jesus’s body and blood soul and divinity, and that it’s not just a symbol, it’s a promise,” says Father Paul Wharton, pastor of Saint Francis DeSales Catholic Church.
Also known as the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi is a tradition dating all the way back to the 1200s and originating in Belgium, and it’s practiced on the second Sunday after Easter every year. This year, the service was very well attended.
“It’s gone very well, we’ve had maybe our biggest crowd today since the pandemic,” he says.
The procession was held immediately after the 11 a.m. Mass, starting and ending at the church, and then it was followed by a farewell luncheon for Father Wharton in the Parish Hall before he leaves for Sabbatical. It was a beautiful Sunday to be reminded of the significance behind such an important custom.
“We take our family, our friends, the blessings we have in this country, and even God for granted,” Father Wharton says. “And we take the Eucharist for granted, so we do this as a way to remind ourselves how important it is.”