Catholics celebrate ‘Fronleichnam’ or Corpus Christi day, June 20

by Jutta Lausberg-Saam
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
On June 20, Germany’s Catholics celebrate “Fronleichnam” or Corpus Christi day. This regional holiday is observed in Rineland-Palatinate, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia and Saarland. All stores and official institutions will be closed. Areas with a mainly Catholic population and some Catholic communities in Saxony and Thuringia will also observe this holiday.

<<Ostensory or monstrance for worship at a Catholic Corpus Christi ceremony.


The word “Fronleichnam” derives from the middle high German words “fron,” meaning Lord, and “lichnam,” meaning body. In the liturgy, the feast is called the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ.
Legend says that during a prayer, Augustinian nun Juliana saw a small black spot on the moon. Christ explained to her that the moon meant the church year, and the black spot the absence of a feast of the altar sacrament.
In 1264, Pope Urban IV declared Corpus Christi day as a feast to be observed by the entire Catholic Church.
The most important part of the Corpus Christi observance is the Holy Mass. Following mass, Catholics will walk in a procession in which the communion wafer will has special meaning. The priest leads participants down a colorfully decorated route carrying the communion wafer in a monstrance, a pompous vessel with a small window through which the communion wafer can be seen. In some areas, people come from far away to be part of the procession. Children also have a very special role on this day as they sprinkle flower leaves on the path where the monstrance is carried.
Processions in the Kaiserslautern Military Community will be held 9 a.m. on the Stiftsplatz in Kaiserslautern, 9:30 a.m. at St. Nikolaus Church in Ramstein-Miesenbach, and 10 a.m. at the Heilig Kreuz Church in Weilerbach