Leigh Hatts  

Corpus Christi in Liege & Maiden Lane

Corpus Christi Church in Maiden Lane where St Juliana is in the top right window

In the Belgian town of Liege this year’s Corpus Christi on Thursday 20 June is being described as the 773rd.

Bishop Jean-Pierre Delville of Liège says: “I am delighted by the growing interest of so many people from Liège and elsewhere for this intangible and spiritual patrimonial treasure of our city. Under the impetus of mystical and socially committed women, especially Saint Julienne de Cornillon, Corpus Christi was created in 1246 in Liège by my predecessor.

It was Saint Julienne de Cornillon, or Juliana as she in known in Britain, who conveyed Christ’s wish that we should have this extra festival in the church calendar. We needed to be able to say thank you for the gift of Holy Communion with a joy that is difficult on Maundy Thursday in Holy Week.

This is why Corpus Christi is on a Thursday although many now celebrate on the nearest Sunday.

Most, but not all, Roman Catholic churches in England and Wales will mark it on Sunday.

The exceptions include Arundel Cathedral where a street procession to the castle follows Mass.

Another church keeping the feast on both days is Corpus Christi Maiden Lane Church in London’s Covent Garden.

This delightful little church has an image of St Juliana in a window behind the high altar. After Sunday morning’s Mass there is procession round the Covent Garden piazza and passing, in an ecumenical gesture, under the porch of St Paul’s Church.

An ecumenical Corpus Christi procession in Mayfair will follow Sunday’s 11am Sung Eucharist at The Grosvenor Chapel and the 11am Sung Latin Mass at Farm Street Church.

Another procession begins at 5pm on Sunday from the Assumption Church in Warwick Street W1B 5LZ and makes its way to St James’s Spanish Place in Marylebone.

But Anglican All Saints Margaret Street W1 will take its procession along Oxford Street on Thursday following a 6.30pm Mass.

An early 20th-century image of St Juliana of Liege