In the lead-up to the London Eucharistic Octave 2021, which is taking place from 11th to 19th September, some of the organisers of the event, Fr Alan Robinson, Fr Dominic Robinson and Anthony Delarue, spoke to the Westminster Record about the significance of this joyful and public celebration of the Blessed Sacrament. The central theme that emerged from their conversation was the idea of the Eucharist as the sacrament of unity, bringing people together as members of the one body of Christ. The event is an opportunity for Catholics to support the International Eucharistic Congress taking place in Budapest, Hungary, this September. Katherine Bennett, of Catholic Voices, also spoke to the Westminster Record about the central role of the Eucharist in her journey of faith.
Fr Alan Robinson, Rector at Maiden Lane, explained why the London Eucharistic Octave, with its focus on the Blessed Sacrament, is able to unite different Catholic rites and traditions: 'We're all Catholics and the various traditions are all Catholic traditions and we’re showing the breadth of the liturgy and the breadth of the worship that we have here on offer in central London. We want people to come back to the Church, come back to the Mass.'
Anthony Delarue, church Architect and a member of the Order of Malta, spoke about how the Procession of the Blessed Sacrament is an example of how the Eucharist unites the Church with Christ, the ‘bridegroom’: 'This week is a very public week and very much in contrast to the silence of the tabernacle. The procession is a party. It is joyful. Whereas at a wedding feast, there is one couple and all the others are guests, bystanders, at the Corpus Christi procession, there are as many couples as there are people there, and they are all equally united to the bridegroom.'
Fr Dominic Robinson, Parish Priest at Farm Street, described how Christ is present in the Eucharist and present in other people: 'A number of people will have stopped and prayed at our statue of Jesus as a homeless person on a park bench. They’re connecting the worship of Christ in the Eucharist with this Christ who actually comes to us humbly and is actually present, especially also in the weakest.'
Katherine Bennett, of Catholic Voices, shared how her life was ‘transformed’ by returning to the Church to receive communion: ‘I’m not the same person I was before. I cannot express how thankful I am because I look at my family, I look at my marriage and I think it’s utterly transformed by returning to receive communion and to be a member of the body of Christ.’