ROME, JUNE 5, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The Holy Mass for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ on Thursday will be celebrated at 7 pm by Benedict XVI in the churchyard of the Basilica of Saint John Lateran.
A letter from the cardinal vicar, Agostino Vallini, to the parishes of the Dioceses of Rome announced the schedule as well as the outdoor location.
The Holy Father will then preside over the Eucharistic procession that, following via Merulana will arrive at the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. Tickets are not needed to access the square.
“I address a particular invitation so that numerous people will participate in this ecclesial moment to thank the Lord for the inestimable gift of the Eucharist, to witness publicly our faith and the unity of the Church of Rome around its Bishop,” wrote Cardinal Vallini to the parishes.
“At a time when the See of Peter is made the object of serious and unjust inferences, which disorient the people, we wish to elevate to the Lord our fervent prayer for all, that he grant us the gift of unity and peace,” he continued. “I ask you to do your utmost so that all the faithful who are able are enabled to participate.”
The tradition of the Solemnity, explained the director of the Diocesan Liturgical Office, Father Giuseppe Midili, goes back to 1264, when Pope Urban IV instituted the feast so that the Christian people rediscover the value of the Eucharistic mystery. A few months before that date was the Eucharistic miracle of Bolsena, when the corporal of a Bohemian priest (now kept in the Duomo of Orvieto) was stained with blood.