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A New Diocesan Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament

On the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, 3rd June, Cardinal Vincent inaugurated the Diocesan Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament at the newly-restored Corpus Christi Church, Maiden Lane, during a Pontifical Mass.

Cardinal Vincent said: ‘It is my privilege to be here today to declare this newly and beautifully renovated church to be our Diocesan Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament.

‘In doing so I pray that so many, young and old, will come here to raise their voices “in songs of love and heartfelt praise”, find again a “home for every heart where restless yearns cease”, a “shelter blesse”' and discover a true glimpse of our “Godhead's majesty”, to borrow the words of a previous parish priest!’

Remarking on the beauty of the renovated church, the Cardinal explained that ‘it is surely right that we lavish all that is best of our skill and endeavour, for one reason only: in order to express our love for the Lord. The extravagant beauty of this shrine is an outpouring of that love. In ways beyond words, that beauty will call people into this sanctuary, into this glimpse of heaven, and speak to their hearts with its message of eternal comfort and calm, in a world so often lacking in both.’

Recalling that his predecessor Cardinal Manning, who, on visiting the newly-opened church on 20th October 1847, proclaimed it to be a ‘sanctuary to be specifically devoted to the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament’, he added: ‘Here, he knew, disciples of the Lord could come to meet him, in that most simple and direct manner: being before him in the Blessed Sacrament in an intimacy of gaze and heart that both refreshes the soul and stirs it into action.’

‘The Blessed Sacrament is the source of our mission,’ Cardinal Vincent affirmed. ‘From this holy shrine, we are sent out. We are not to linger too long in its embrace, but rather, strengthened here, we leave in order to fulfil our share in this great gift. This was the hope of Cardinal Manning, too.’

He expressed the hope that this Shrine to the Most Blessed Sacrament may ‘enrich the life of faith in our time and bring to many the joy and consolation of the Lord's presence, so that we may all come to know and praise his beauty, with all our brothers and sisters, in the life to come’.

After Mass, the Cardinal led the Blessed Sacrament Procession around Covent Garden in an act of witness by the faithful, with visitors and tourists looking on. Below, Cardinal Vincent reflects on the procession:

The Mass was the climax of a week-long celebration of solemn ceremonies for the re-opening of the church following five years’ renovation and restoration work.

The full text of the Cardinal’s homily

Fr Alan Robinson on the history and significance of the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament and Corpus Christi Church

For more information about Corpus Christi and the Sodality of the Blessed Sacrament, visit the parish website.

Photos: Mazur/

Additional photos from the Mass and Blessed Sacrament Procession