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On Thursday, June 4, Pope Francis observed the liturgical feast of Corpus Christi with the celebration of the Mass in front of the Patriarchal Basilica of Saint John the Lateran and the traditional procession of the Blessed Sacrament to the nearby Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.

In his homily, Pope Francis spoke of the Eucharist as a spiritual nourishment saying, “In the Corpus Christi feast we have the joy not only to celebrate this mystery (of the Eucharist), but also to praise and sing on the streets of our city. May the procession we will make at the end of Mass, express our gratitude for all the journeys that God has allowed us to do through the desert of our poverty, to take us out of slavery, to feed us with His love through the Sacrament of His Body and His Blood. ”

The Holy Father concluded the homily with an appeal to solidarity with all those who do not enjoy such freedom. “Shortly,” he said, “let’s walk along the road, we try to perceive ourselves in communion with our many brothers and sisters who have no freedom to express their faith in the Lord Jesus. Let us feel united with them, let us seek to sing with them, to praise with them, to worship with them. And we venerate in our hearts those brothers and sisters who have been required to sacrifice their lives for loyalty to Christ: let their blood, united to the Lord’s, is a pledge of peace and reconciliation for the whole world. ”

After the Mass, Pope Francis traveled Via Merulana by car to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore where he waited for the procession led by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Cardinal Vicar of the Diocese of Rome. The faithful sang the Pange Lingua and began to travel via Merulana, which extends for about one and a half miles through the heart of the city, with the Blessed Sacrament. Pope Francis met with the faithful at Santa Maria Maggiore, where the Blessed Sacrament was welcomed by the sound of bells and the song of Tantum Ergo. The Holy Father then gave the blessing, after which the gathered faithful made the final cries and sang the hymn, Sub tuum praesidium, imploring the protection of Our Lady.

Here is a short video of the procession of the Blessed Sacrament as he passes in front of the Redemptorist General’s home in Via Merulana, Rome.