In the lead up to the Feast of Corpus Christi, a number of current and former students of Corpus Christi College Regional Seminary have reflected on the meaning of the Eucharist in their lives. The reflections form part of a seven-part series organised by the seminary, which will be hosting a Mass and Eucharistic Procession on Sunday 11 June at 3pm at Sacred Heart Church in Carlton.
Deacon Tom Christie, who is currently based at the Nazareth Parish in Torquay, Grovedale and Anglesea, said the Eucharist ‘provides us with spiritual nourishment and strength, even in our most fragile moments’. Deacon Tom reflected on his friendship with the grandfather of an old school friend, whose kindness has stayed with him over the years. ‘I remember his Scottish charm and my difficulty in understanding his thick Glaswegian accent! He was a man of faith and he wrote me some deeply insightful cards for my First Communion and Confirmation, which I have kept to this day.’
Sadly, the man was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in the latter part of his life.
‘When my friend became bedridden in the later stages of this debilitating illness, his daughter asked me to bring Holy Communion to their house. There were many Sundays where I visited him to administer the Eucharist. Even though he couldn’t talk and was largely immobile, his eyes glowed and glistened whenever he consumed the Eucharistic host. He was close to God. He was preparing himself to journey from this life to the next.’
Deacon Tom shared that he is constantly reminded of the sacredness of the Eucharist during visits to those who are are sick and dying.
‘One of my duties is to administer the Eucharist to residents in nursing homes and those in palliative care. Time and time again, these people are reminding me of the sacredness of this sacrament. It is a lasting treasure for all of us in the Church.’
Fr Olek Stirrat, who is currently Assistant Priest of the Mount Gambier, Millicent and Penola parishes in the Archdiocese of Adelaide, said that for him, the strongest image of the Eucharist was illustrated through the life of a Polish Albertine monk, St Albert Chmielowski. The Polish nobleman was inspired by a deep love for the poor and founded the Albertine brothers and sisters. On a visit to the Polish mountains, Fr Olek visited the cell of St Albert, which simply contained a bed, a desk, a crucifix and wooden clogs. It was here that he saw a plaque with the saint’s oft-quoted phrase: ‘We must become bread broken for others.’
‘It is the most concise and poetic description of the Eucharist that I have come across,’ said Fr Olek.
‘The brokenness of bread should be the source of a priestly vocation, for a priest is someone who must become like bread broken for others.’
Visit the Corpus Christi Seminary blog to read these and more daily reflections on the Eucharist.
Everyone is invited to attend the special Mass and Eucharistic Procession on the feast of Corpus Christi, this Sunday, 11 June, at Sacred Heart Church in Carlton (Rathdowne and Pelham Streets).
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