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Corpus Christi, St. Lawrence the Deacon, and Eucharistic Integration

UPPER DARBY, PA, June 2, 2024 — The National Eucharistic Pilgrimage Seton Route concluded its celebration of the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord with a bilingual Eucharistic Holy Hour at St. Laurence Church in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania.

During the Holy Hour, presided over by pastor Father Thomas Whittingham, there were Scripture readings in English and Spanish, Eucharistic hymns, witness talks by Amayrani Higueldo in Spanish and Dominic Carstens in English and a bilingual homily by Seton Route chaplain Father Roger Landry.

In the English part of his homily, Father Landry first gave a history of how the feast of Corpus Christi came about. He said it was ultimately because God evidently desired that the Eucharistic piety of the Church descend from the head (intellectual knowledge of the truth of the Mass and the Real Presence) to the heart (love) to the hands (charity) to feet (bringing the Gospel to others) and to the lips (being able to pass on as of top importance the living faith we've received).

He mentioned the 13th century pivotal figures: St. Juliana of Mont Cornillion, Archdeacon Jacques Pantaleon, the future Pope Urban II, Father Peter of Prague and St. Thomas Aquinas.

He said we learn from what the Lord did, buttressing the miracle of the 1263 Eucharist by the Eucharistic miracle of Orvieto-Bolsena, of how we can't allow our Eucharistic faith merely to remain intellectual but to let it be pervaded by love, influence our charity, and by our words and effort to go out to people to invite them to share the Eucharistic Jesus with us.

In the Spanish part of his homily, Father Landry focused on what we can learn from St. Lawrence, deacon and martyr, to live an integrated Eucharistic faith.

Father Landry made three points.

The first that St. Lawrence was willing to die for the Eucharist. He had gone to the catacombs of St. Praetextatus with Pope St. Sixtus II and four other deacons knowing the risk he was taking under the ferocious persecution of the emperor Valerian. He asked whether we have the faith to take such a risk, whether we have the courage to die for him who out of love died for us.

The second point was about charity. St. Lawrence was given four days after the martyrdom of St. Sixtus II (August 6, 258) and the others present to assemble all of the treasures of the Church. Instead of bringing the Church's liturgical books, sacred vessels and other material goods of the Church, he brought the poor for whom Jesus gave his life. The Eucharistic is supposed to change us that we begin to love the poor just like Jesus does, Landry said.

The Romans were not pleased and decided to intensify the pains of his martyrdom, roasting him on a grill. But because of his relationship with the Lord, even in the midst of being burned alive, he was able to retain his joy and sense of humor. He said to his executioners, "Assum est. Versa et manduca." "This side is cooked. Turn me over and eat." He knew he was receiving within him in Holy Communion the Risen Lord Jesus and sharing already in his triumph over death and so he was able to approach the torture inflicted upon him with joy.

We will likely never be grilled alive, like St. Lawrence was, but we are called to approach our sufferings and setbacks with cheerfulness and joy because we know the same Risen Lord Jesus is with us, Landry stated.

To listen to an audio recording of Father Landry's homily, please click here.


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