Catholics observe ‘Corpus Christi Day’ Thursday
Church processions walk through decorated streets

Petra Lessoing
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***Roman-Catholics in Germany and Europe celebrate their religious holiday “Corpus Christi Day” Thursday, 10 days after Pentecost.

It is an official holiday in some but not all German states. Stores, banks and official institutions are closed in Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland, Baden-Würrtemberg, Hessen, Bayern, in some communities in Saxony and Thüringen, and in areas with a mainly Catholic population.

In Germany the fest is called “Fronleichnam.” The word Fronleichnam derives from old German and corresponds to the Latin word “Corpus Domini,” body of the Lord.

In 1264, Pope Urban IV ordered the entire Catholic Church to observe the feast of Corpus Christi.
The fest commemorates Christ’s Last Supper the day before he died. It honors the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Nowadays, the church holiday is a colorful event which includes solemn processions through the streets which are decorated with flowers, little birch trees and church banners.

Four altars are set up on the procession route to symbolize the four stops of Christ’s way to the cross, known as the “Stations of the Cross.”

A priest leads the procession and carries the Holy of Holies under a baldachin.
Then the minstrants, communion children of that year and worshippers follow. At the altars, the procession stops and participants say a prayer.

The procession is accompanied by singing and usually ends at a church, market square or or a public place, where an open air worship service is conducted.