Eucharistic Encounter 26: Christmas in July, but Catholic!

Have you ever heard of Christmas in July? How about the feast of Corpus Christi in July?

This story is true – you can’t make this stuff up. I spent 15 summers on service projects down in Mexico in the Highlands of central Michoacán. The people who live there are very Catholic, of the Purépecha Indian tribe. They speak Spanish, they speak Purépecha and have a great devotion to Jesus and the Holy Eucharist.

It was the summer of 2005, and our service project was helping the people finish their church. We also brought in a mobile medical unit and a dental unit, and food and clothing, especially for the youngsters. And when we arrived, the people in charge of the local church said, “Father, this Sunday is Corpus Christi for us.”

Now, Corpus Christi was about a month ago. And every priest knows that the latest Corpus Christi can ever fall on is June 24th, because it’s usually 60 days after Easter. We’re towards the end of July. But they said this Sunday is our Corpus Christi.

But I realized there was no way I was going to talk about this. They explained, “Look, we’ve got one priest for 20 villages. He can’t get here every Sunday. And this feast is really important for us. Would you celebrate it?”

I said, “absolutely.”

So, the Sunday of Corpus Christi came and the whole town transformed: there’s no running water in this village, no paved streets, and it was all spotless. There were banners hanging from the church. There were balloons. There were flowers like you wouldn’t believe. The columns of the church had garlands that crossed the whole church, made of pine needles – by hand! I can’t imagine how many hours it takes to pull those from the forest and string them together.

It was fabulous. After the very solemn Mass, we had the Corpus Christi procession in the plaza, and in each corner they had built a booth and we’d stop there. There would be incense, bells, and Adoration. The big Fiesta Pechanga happened after that.

Their faith inspired me. When it comes to the worship of God, they go all out. That’s what Saint Thomas Aquinas said and wrote in his Lauda Sion, Quantum Potes, Tantum Aude, “As much as you can, so much do.”

Let’s not be cheap with God. Give Him the very best and you can never outdo God in generosity. That’s why we’re all making this big effort, this big sacrifice, laying it all on the table to get everybody to come to National Eucharistic Congress.

Relevant Radio is going to be there every night. We’ll broadcast the Family Rosary Across America, live from the main stage. So I hope to see you there. Let’s all show up for Jesus!

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Rev. Francis J. Hoffman, "Fr. Rocky" is the Executive Director/CEO of Relevant Radio and a priest of Opus Dei.