Sunday, June 10, 2012

Corpus Christi in England after Emancipation and Restoration

My first post today was about the Solemnity of Corpus Christi before the English Reformation, and I mentioned the first procession after the Reformation led by Blessed Dominic Barberi. With Emancipation in 1829 and the restoration of the hierarchy in 1850, devotion to the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ became manifest in England again with churches (including Westminster Cathedral, which is dedicated to the Most Precious Blood) and processions.

For example, Corpus Christi Catholic Church in London's West End:

The Parish of Maiden Lane is situated in the Westminster Deanery. It was founded in 1873 and consecrated on the 18th of October, 1956. Often referred to as the “hidden gem” of the West End, the then Archbishop Cardinal Henry Manning said during his homily at the opening mass that “a sanctuary has been opened to be specifically devoted to the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament”.

This was the first church dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament after the Reformation. The famous hymns Sweet Sacrament Divine and O Sacred Heart were written by the parish priest Fr Francis Stanfield (1835-1914). It is also known as “the actors’ church” and is the home of the Catholic Association of the Performing Arts (formerly, the Catholic Stage Guild).

This link provides some pictures of the interior of the church, and here are the lyrics to the first hymn mentioned above:

Sweet Sacrament divine,
hid in thine earthly home;
lo! round thy lowly shrine,
with suppliant hearts we come;
Jesus, to thee our voice we raise
In songs of love and heartfelt praise
sweet Sacrament divine.

Sweet Sacrament of peace,
dear home of every heart,
where restless yearnings cease,
and sorrows all depart.
there in thine ear, all trustfully,
we tell our tale of misery,
sweet Sacrament of peace.

Sweet Sacrament of rest,
ark from the ocean's roar,
within thy shelter blest
soon may we reach the shore;
save us, for still the tempest raves,
save, lest we sink beneath the waves:
sweet Sacrament of rest.

Sweet Sacrament divine,
earth's light and jubilee,
in thy far depths doth shine
the Godhead's majesty;
sweet light, so shine on us, we pray
that earthly joys may fade away:
sweet Sacrament divine.

This article describes the revival of the Corpus Christi procession in Arundel, home of the Dukes of Norfolk in Sussex. The Arundel Cathedral website has notes about the procession, which was celebrated on Thursday, June 7 this year.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this...very interesting and shared to my Facebook page.