On the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, Christians celebrate the feast day of Corpus Christi, which literally translates to "body of Christ". The day celebrates the presence of Jesus Christ's body and blood in the Eucharist or the Communion.
Corpus Christi is not a public holiday in the United States.
Thinking that there should be a day to celebrate the divinity of Jesus Christ's Body and Blood, St. Thomas Aquinas suggested to Pope Urban IV that a Feast Day should be created, with a sole focus on the Holy Eucharist.
Celebrating the Eucharist was already one of the parts of Maundy Thursday, however, there were also the elements of the washing of the feet and the commitment to priesthood. Thus, after confirming that the Eucharistic Miracle of Bolsena was authentic, Pope Urban IV, in 1264, established the Feast of Corpus Christi as a celebration to be celebrated throughout all of the Roman Catholic Church.
A few centuries later, Pope Pius V amended the General Roman Calendar and kept only two feasts of devotion - Corpus Christi and Trinity Sunday.
Corpus Christi is represented by consecrated bread and a chalice, that symbolize the Holy Eucharist.
What is the Eucharist?
The Eucharist or Holy Communion is one of the most sacred rites of the Christian Church. It originates from the Last Supper, when Jesus offered his disciples bread and wine as symbols of his body and blood, ordering them to continue this ritual in his memory.
The Eucharist has then become one of the most important moments during mass, where sacramental bread and wine are consecrated at an altar, which people then consume for Communion. While doing so, the congregation is meant to reflect on the sacrifices of Jesus Christ.
How Corpus Christi is observed
Corpus Christi is a holy day of obligations, which means that those of Christian faith must participate in the Mass. Catholics must receive their communion on this day, and children often receive their first communion during Corpus Christi.
In 1519, upon arriving at a bay on the territory of Texas, explorer Alonzo Pineda gave the new city the name of Corpus Christi.