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Province of Spain: Corpus Christi: beauty, art and evangelization

P eventMonday, 27 May 2024

"The Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, which are given to us in the Eucharist, give us strength to be His witnesses". (Chapter of 04.08.1882)


The solemnity of the feast of Corpus Christi takes us not only to the greatness of those who contemplate God in a piece of bread, but God manifests Himself through the solemn liturgy, the monstrances, the canopies or carpets made of earth and salt, altars in the street that may sound to us of times gone by, but which are the fruit of the tradition that with renewed character offer generation after generation all they have, so that, as the Spanish proverb says, Corpus Christi Thursday shines like the sun: "there are three Thursdays in the year that shine brighter than the sun: Holy Thursday, Corpus Christi and Ascension  Thursday".

The beauty of art is placed at the service of evangelization. It is enough to contemplate the scene to recognize the greatness of the one who advances in procession on it. Pope Francis masterfully summarizes this idea for the Association of artists "Diaconate of Beauty" on its tenth anniversary: "If there is beauty, it is because God is good and gives it to us. And this gives us joy, reassures us, does us good. Contact with "beauty always lifts us up. Beauty makes us go beyond". Awakening and sustaining faith, "is a way to go to the Lord".  And like the crowd that followed the Master along the roads of Jerusalem, carpets are prepared so that the victory of Christ, Verbum caro, panem verum, is intoned as He passes by.

The feast of Corpus Christi, in our popular and religious tradition, is a great celebration in which the common people pay homage and praise the Lord through many gestures and signs.

For the Assumption "The spirit of adoration which characterizes us is translated in a privileged way in the adoration of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament exposed", "Christ, adorer of the Father... exposed... is the one who gathers His people".

That is why, throughout the length and breadth of our Spanish geography in many cities, towns and villages, this experience is expressed with a great religious sentiment that is deeply rooted both in the people of God and in the Church itself.

The carpets of various colors tint the steep streets of the “Noble y Leal Villa de la Orotava” in Tenerife. Craftsmen and artists make the tapestries and aisles through which the procession passes. In the Town Square, the pavement becomes an immense tapestry, which every year is dedicated to a specific reality, and this year as a sign of communion and solidarity, it is dedicated to Ukraine, and to the island of La Palma, hit by the force of the Cumbre Vieja volcano. These two realities that go from the universal to the local, are placed at the feet of the Lord in many of the tapestries and carpets throughout the Spanish terrain, as well as other symbols that manifest the popular traditions of different peoples like the Camino de Santiago in its Jacobean year, and long corridors with branches of heather and thyme that give aroma to the whole route.

Ephemeral art, which takes a week to produce, and which disappears in one day with the passing of such a glorified Lord, Who blesses His people in such a sublime union of the temporal with the eternal, of the earth with heaven.  

On the island of La Palma, the families lend their gems and jewelry for the triumphal arches which adorn the Villa de Mazo, which, with the scent of flowers and covered with colors, sings in unison to the “Amor de los Amores”

In Toledo, Corpus Christi is full of history and traditions, art, spirituality and color. The magnificent 16th century monstrance, the most important object of all those kept in the Primate Cathedral, travels through the decorated streets of Toledo in the Corpus Christi procession. This marks the greatest day in the city's calendar and is therefore the most essential element of the procession.

Beauty, art and evangelization of a feast that has its origins in the Middle Ages, so as to fill for various reasons, the gaps in the cobbled streets, and which also fill with colors and scents those very first cities, like incense fills with scent and splendor the passage of our Lord.


See the photos here