Corpus Christi, also known as the Feast of Corpus Christi or Boże Ciało in Polish, is a significant festival in the Roman Catholic Church that celebrates the real presence of Jesus Christ's body (corpus). It commemorates the Last Supper, which took place the day before Jesus' crucifixion. The feast is observed on the Thursday following Trinity Sunday, although in some countries, it is celebrated on the following Sunday. Corpus Christi is a day of obligation and a public holiday in many countries, including Poland. Its origins can be traced back to France in 1246. Since the mid-14th century, it has been one of the principal feasts of the Roman Catholic Church and is also recognized in the calendar of certain Anglican churches.
A significant aspect of Corpus Christi is the procession. Following the Mass, the consecrated host (Corpus Christi) is placed in a vessel called the monstrance. The priest carries the monstrance, leading the procession to various altars symbolizing the four corners of the earth. These altars are set up along the procession route and adorned with flowers and candles, inviting the faithful to stop, adore, and engage in local customs and traditions. At each altar, readings, prayers, and benedictions take place. The faithful kneel as the processions traverse cities and towns, publicly demonstrating their faith. The processions can extend for blocks or even miles in some locations. The congregation follows the procession, participating in singing and prayer.
Below, you will find a documentary showcasing the Feast of Corpus Christi in Chicago, organized by Parafia Świętej Trójcy (Holy Trinity Church) in June 2022.
All photographs by ⓒ Grzegorz Lityński