In the year of our Lord 1264 Pope Urban IV instituted a new feast to help foster and promote belief in the true presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. The name given to this new feast was Corpus Christi, from which we draw our parochial name. He entrusted to St. Thomas Aquinas the task of ornamenting this feast with hymns, sequences, and devotions; it is to these that we turned for inspiration in creating our new branding for school and parish.
In reality, we did not have to look far as the stained-glass windows in our nave already contained many elements drawn directly from the Angelic Doctor. Looking at these windows we found the image of a pelican feeding its offspring. In the ancient world there was a legend that in times of famine the mother pelican would strike its breast so as to feed its offspring with drops of its own blood; that as it faced death, it gave its lifeblood to sustain and nourish its progeny.
Christians quickly adopted this as a Christian symbol, a figure of Christ the Redeemer. It is through His sacrifice on the cross that we His flock are redeemed and washed in His Blood. In his hymn Adoro te devote Thomas employs this image as an explicitly Eucharistic symbol; he composed the following as that hymn’s sixth quatrain:
O loving Pelican! O Jesu Lord!
Unclean I am, but cleanse me in Thy blood!
Of which a single drop, for sinners spilt,
Can purge the entire world from all its guilt.
(tr. Fr. Caswall)
From this we have composed our new parochial and school symbols.
Christ is our Head, we the Church are His Mystical Body. Through His Body and Blood, we are united with His one and eternal sacrifice on the cross. It is this sacrifice that cleanses us, nourishes us, and strengths us.
In conjunction with our being fed by Christ the Priest, the Victim, and the Altar – Christ is the Teacher who feeds His children, directs them by His Word, guides them by His Light, and so leads them to knowledge of that which is Good, True, and Beautiful, viz. Himself. It is essential that we remember why we are here and what we are about. God made us to show forth His goodness and to invite us to share in His beatitude; we are here to know Him, love him, and serve Him in this life and to reign with Him in the next.
Pope Pius XI in speaking of Christian education offered this insight in understanding the proximate goal of a parish with a school: “Hence the true Christian, product of Christian education, is the supernatural man who thinks, judges and acts constantly and consistently in accordance with right reason illumined by the supernatural light of the example and teaching of Christ (Divini Illius Magistri, 96)”.