Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Corpus Christi in Saint-Eugène - Paris - France

Since Cardinal Caprara gave in 1802 an indult to France to celebrate Corpus Christi both on its real day, and on the Sunday in the octave (to fulfill the obligation to attend mass on Corpus Christi) most of the processions take place on Sunday after vespers for practical reasons.

Here is a link to the indult both in Latin and French:
Caprara Indult

We have had the traditional latin mass in Paris in Saint-Eugène since 1985, it is the oldest indult mass in Paris and the group is stable enough to continue.

The parish itself was built in the 19th century and is much inspired by the Sainte-Chapelle de Paris. It is stone outside and cast iron inside, the first church of its kind in Paris. The organ comes from the Exposition Universelle de Paris and was built by Merklin. The name of the church comes from Imperatrice Eugenie. It is probably the most English looking church in Paris and it reminds me of Pugin. Pugin's parents were French actually).

So, solemn vespers have been sung at 3:30 with French faux-bourdons which have been mentionned earlier on this forum and then the blessed sacrament has been exposed. The church was nearly full. I remember that years ago, we used to expose the blessed Sacrament a the beginning of Vespers for this special day only, which makes the ceremonies a little bit more complicated.

Then the procession left the church for nearly 45 minutes. Two altars of repose had been set in the streets. Il becomes more and more difficult to maintain these processions in Paris as some people dare to spit on the procession from their balconies and to throw water and unidentified liquids... A lot of insults as well and hifis turned on to the maximum. But the procession made its way, there is an arab saying: les chiens aboient, la caravane passe - the dogs bark but the caravan goes on and also la pluie n'arrête pas le pèlerin - rain does not stop the pilgrim.

Back into the church, we had a solemn benediction. This was not the only procession in Paris for Corpus Christi. Our next procession in Saint-Eugène will take us to our cathedral, Notre-Dame de Paris, where we have been allowed to sing a solemn mass, on the 17th of June in the evening.

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