A colourful Corpus Christi parade will take place in Dunstable this Sunday, with children and parents from St Mary’s Parish Church and Our Lady of Czestochowa greeting crowds in vibrant festival costumes.
The two Christian churches are uniting their communities as they enjoy the special festival, which celebrates the “reality of the Body and blood of Jesus Christ”.
The parade will be between 11.30am and 12.15pm, beginning at St Mary’s, West Street, and travelling down to Our Lady of Czestochowa, Victoria Street, and then back to St Mary’s for a buffet and drinks.
Judy Smither, organist and choir leader at St Mary’s and secretary of Dunstable Churches Together, said: “We wanted to bring our two communities together, especially with what’s been going on recently in the national news.
“We will have Father Kieran Magovern (of St Mary’s) and Father Lescek (of Our Lady of Czestochowa) in the parade.
“There will be six priests in total and the Polish community will be wearing bright and beauitful traditional outfits!
“We have also invited our African-Caribbean community at St Mary’s to wear the dress of their national heritage.
“We’re competing with Father’s Day but we hope everyone will come to see and support us!”
St Mary’s Choir will be singing Panis Angelicus (meaning Bread of Angels) and at Our Lady of Czestochowa, the children will be laying posies at the altar.
The name ‘Corpus Christi’ is Latin for ‘the body of Christ’ and the festival celebrates the Eucharist as the body of Christ.
The Eucharist (also called the Holy Communion, Mass, the Lord’s Supper) is a re-enactment of the Last Supper, when Jesus Christ shared a final meal with his disciples before his arrest and crucifixion.
Jesus ate bread and wine asking his disciples to do the same in memory of him.
Prayers and readings in a Eucharistic service are a reminder of that final meal and its significance.
Christians taking part drink a sip of consecrated wine (or grape juice) and eat a tiny piece of consecrated bread.
People have different ways of doing this, and different ways of understanding what it means spiritually. Some believe that the bread and wine that is offered is the actual body and blood of Christ
The festival is celebrated by Roman Catholics as well as other Christian groups, and is popular festival in Europe.
> St Mary’s: http://www.stmarys-dunstable.org/
> Our Lady of Czestochowa: http://www.ppld.co.uk/en/church/our-church