In 1263 a German priest, Peter of Prague, stopped at Bolsena Italy while on a pilgrimage to Rome. He was a pious priest, but one who found it difficult to believe that Christ was actually present in the consecrated Host. While celebrating Holy Mass above the tomb of St. Christina (located in the church named for this martyr), he had barely spoken the words of Consecration when blood started to seep from the consecrated Host and trickle over his hands onto the altar and the corporal. The priest was immediately confused. At first, he attempted to hide the blood, but then he interrupted the Mass and asked to be taken to the neighboring city of Orvieto, where Pope Urban IV resided. The Pope listened to the priest’s account and absolved him. He then sent emissaries for an immediate investigation. When all the facts were ascertained, he ordered the Bishop of the diocese to bring the Host and the linen cloth bearing the stains of blood to Orvieto. With archbishops, cardinals and other Church dignitaries in attendance, the Pope met the procession and, amid great pomp, had the relics placed in the cathedral. The linen corporal bearing the spots of blood is still reverently enshrined and exhibited in the Cathedral of Orvieto. It is said that Pope Urban IV was prompted by this miracle to commission St. Thomas Aquinas to compose the Proper for a Mass and an Office honoring the Holy Eucharist as the Body of Christ. One year after the miracle, in August of 1264, Pope Urban IV introduced the saint’s composition, and by means of a papal bull instituted the feast of Corpus Christi. This was when St. Thomas Aquinas wrote the hymn containing the verses of Tantum Ergo (Down in Adoration Falling), which we still sing today during Eucharistic exposition.
𝗗𝗼𝘄𝗻 𝗶𝗻 𝗮𝗱𝗼𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗳𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴,
𝗧𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗴𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁 𝘀𝗮𝗰𝗿𝗮𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝘄𝗲 𝗵𝗮𝗶𝗹.
𝗔𝗻𝗰𝗶𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝘁𝘆𝗽𝗲𝘀 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗹𝗼𝗻𝗴 𝗱𝗲𝗽𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗲𝗱,
𝗡𝗲𝘄𝗲𝗿 𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗲𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗰𝗲 𝗽𝗿𝗲𝘃𝗮𝗶𝗹;
𝗙𝗮𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗱𝗲𝗳𝗲𝗰𝘁𝘀 𝘀𝘂𝗽𝗽𝗹𝘆𝗶𝗻𝗴
𝗪𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝗲𝗲𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗻𝘀𝗲𝘀 𝗳𝗮𝗶𝗹.
𝗚𝗹𝗼𝗿𝘆 𝗹𝗲𝘁 𝘂𝘀 𝗴𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗯𝗹𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴,
𝗧𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗙𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗦𝗼𝗻.
𝗛𝗼𝗻𝗼𝘂𝗿, 𝗺𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗽𝗿𝗮𝗶𝘀𝗲 𝗮𝗱𝗱𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴
𝗪𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗲 𝗲𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗮𝗴𝗲𝘀 𝗿𝘂𝗻,
𝗘𝗾𝘂𝗮𝗹 𝗽𝗿𝗮𝗶𝘀𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗵𝗶𝗺 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗳𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴,
𝗪𝗵𝗼 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗰𝗲𝗲𝗱𝘀 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗯𝗼𝘁𝗵 𝗮𝘀 𝗼𝗻𝗲.