Corpus Christi Procession

Corpus Christi is a particularly special feast at St. Anthony’s for over 145 years.

The solemnity is marked by a festive procession of the Holy Eucharist through the neighborhood by the parishioners, accompanied by musicians, singers, First Communicants, Friars, alumni, and more.

The Saint Louis Review has done a very nice multimedia presentation on Corpus Christi at St. Anthony of Padua, which has been made available to us by and can be viewed by clicking the image above.

In 1247, the Feast of Corpus Christi was celebrated in France for the first time. It gained widespread acceptance throughout the Church after 1300. The Feast is generally considered to reflect the Holy Thursday Mass, but without its sorrowful connection to the Passion.

An outdoor procession has been an integral part of Corpus Christi since its beginning, and may have originated from the procession of the Blessed Sacrament to the Altar of Repose that is conducted on Holy Thursday. After first appearing in 1279 in Cologne, Germany, the concept spread rapidly with the acceptance of the Feast.

The procession quickly took on the character of the triumphant Christ the King. The Blessed Sacrament is held aloft for all to see in the monstrance. Benedictions were celebrated at four separate stations, symbolizing the four corners of the Earth.

Fr. Vincent Halbfas, OFM became St. Anthony’s fourth Pastor in 1877. Having observed the Corpus Christi Procession many times in his native Germany, he instituted the first Procession at St. Anthony’s in 1878.

Every year since the procession has been faithfully celebrated and this festive tradition through the streets of Saint Louis is a manifestation of the Presence of Christ to our community and to the world.