Father Stephen Thorne

This Spring, thousands of children in our Archdiocese received their First Holy Communion. As a priest, it is a beautiful moment to see the faith and joy in the eyes of a young person as they receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist for the first time.

When I spoke to our children who were preparing for First Holy Communion at Saint Barbara Catholic Church in Wynnefield, I reminded them that as they receive Jesus, they must act like Jesus. One child asked, “So Father Thorne, I have to be nice to my sister?” My response was, “Yes, be nice to your sister and everyone else!” That simple question from a child led me to reflect on my behavior as a priest at the altar and everywhere else. 

Father Thorne offering Holy Communion to a child for the first time.

As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, also known as Corpus Christi Sunday, we are called to reaffirm our belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. We must never take the Eucharist for granted but truly realize Who we are receiving and do so with faith, joy, and reverence. This is why coming to Mass in person is so important. As Catholics, we are blessed to receive the Body and Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ! However, we are also dismissed from Mass by the celebrant or deacon to go forth and love and serve our neighbor.

Last year on the Solemnity of the Body of Blood of Christ, Archbishop Nelson Pérez, issued a pastoral letter on racial healing, entitled “We Are One Body.” His letter has been acclaimed throughout the country for its prayerful stance that challenges all of us to fight against the mortal sin of racism.

In the letter he states, “Racism denies our divine worth and violates the essence of our faith. It not only breaks Christ’s commandment to love others as He loves us, but also is an offense to the presence of God within each of us.”

Our Archbishop’s words remind us that we cannot revere the Presence of Christ the Eucharist and at the same time fail to see Him in each other. Thus, racism has no place in the heart of a Catholic.

On this Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, may I offer some homework for all…

-Read or re-read the Archbishop’s Pastoral Letter on Racial Healing 

-After reading, reach out to the Archbishop’s Commission for Racial Healing to view our resources, and if we can assist your parish or school, please contact us here.

I pray that I always have the joy that I saw in the children at my parish as they received their first Holy Communion, but I also pray that I will love and serve my sisters and brothers of every race.


Father Thorne is the pastor of Saint Barbara Catholic Church in Wynnefield and Co-Chair of the Archbishop’s Commission for Racial Healing.