VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis will celebrate the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ and the Corpus Christi procession on a Sunday — June 18 — and not on the traditional Thursday feast day, which is June 15 this year.

Throughout Italy and in most other countries, the feast was transferred to the following Sunday years ago. The pope celebrating on the Sunday “can strengthen the participation of the faithful in this solemn, public act of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament,” said Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the papal vicar of Rome.


Announcing the change in a letter May 1, the cardinal said he hoped changing the date of the celebration to a non-work day would allow more people to participate in the traditional procession through Rome from the Basilica of St. John Lateran to the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

The date of the papal celebration was announced by the Vatican May 18 along with a list of Pope Francis’ other public liturgical celebrations for June.

Pope Francis will celebrate Mass in St. Peter’s Square on Pentecost June 4 and he will mark the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul with Mass June 29 in St. Peter’s Basilica and the blessing of palliums to be given to new metropolitan archbishops.

The pallium is a band made from lamb’s wool, which is worn over the shoulders and symbolizes both an archbishop’s role as the shepherd of the archdiocese and his communion with the pope.