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Students honor Eucharist with mural

Students at the St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Buckingham created a beautiful work of temporary art spanning more than 70 feet in length as part of the seminary’s recent Eucharistic Procession.

Located just off of Route 20 between Dillwyn and Scottsville, St. Thomas Aquinas is a Roman-Catholic seminary which trains young men to become Catholic priests.

During the yearly procession, students honor the Blessed Sacrament, or Eucharist.

“The Eucharist is the sacramental bread and wine that is consecrated at the mass,” Brother Maximilian Watner explained Wednesday, June 9. “After consecration, the substance of the bread ceases to exist and is replaced by the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, though, of course, to the eyes, the appearances of bread remain. The same happens with the wine, its substance ceases to exist and is replaced by the blood of Jesus.

“We take Jesus’ words at the last supper in their literal meaning when he said over the bread and wine, ‘This is my body, … this is my blood.’ They are both consumed in the communion of the mass, but some of the consecrated breads, or hosts, are reserved in the church to be adored. Once every year we proclaim and give thanks for the great gift of himself that Jesus has left us by a public procession.”

To honor the Eucharist, students use sawdust dyed with food coloring to create a one-use carpet of immense proportions. The colorful mural is reminiscent of the cloaks the crowd spread upon the road for the passing of the Lord on Palm Sunday.

Students included a variety of symbols on the mural, including a symbol of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, a bunch of grapes, from which the Eucharistic wine is made, a host and chalice (the Eucharist), a sheaf of wheat and a symbol of the Trinity — God himself, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.