Road Journal, Week 2: Just Getting Started

June 7, 2024

As Memorial Day Weekend kicked off in the United States, the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage celebrated its first full week on the road, and it’s quickly gaining momentum. Thousands of pilgrims joined processions and events along each of the four routes this week, with highlights including:

  • A boat procession across Lake Tahoe as the Pilgrimage transitioned from the Diocese of Sacramento to the Diocese of Reno
  • A walking procession through Central Park and across the Brooklyn Bridge
  • 7,000 participants processing with Jesus through the heart of St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Mass at Presidio La Bahía, a historic Spanish fort in Texas

Read on to learn more about these and other exciting events that took place during the second week of the Pilgrimage!

Priest holding the monstrance under a white canopy in a Eucharistic procession in Minnesota

Marian Route (North)

After a kickoff procession with almost 2,000 participants at the Mississippi headwaters, the Marian Route of the Pilgrimage made its way to the Twin Cities. A highlight was the 19th Annual Northeast Eucharistic Procession, which included stops at eight Northeast Minneapolis churches. The following day—Memorial Day—7,000 people participated in the Source and Summit Eucharistic Procession on Summit Avenue in St. Paul. Although thunderstorms were forecasted, the pilgrims enjoyed sunny skies as the rain held off until the procession had ended

Strollers, wheelchairs, and walkers dotted the crowd as pilgrims of all ages and stages of life joined to publicly bear witness to Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist. A fifth-grade participant noted how “you don’t realize how many people actually are Catholic… it is just amazing” (The Catholic Spirit, May 27, 2024).

A crowd of religious and laypeople processing with the Eucharistic on the streets of New York City

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Route (East)

Our Eucharistic Lord entered one of America’s most iconic cities as joyful pilgrims gathered to pray and worship Jesus in the Eucharist in New York. The Pilgrimage itinerary included the shrines of both St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, patron saint of the route, as well as St. Frances Cabrini. At the historic St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 2,500 worshipers joined Cardinal Timothy Dolan as he celebrated Mass, and 1,000 attended Benediction at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Cathedral in Brooklyn Heights.

Processions took place through Central Park, past Yankee Stadium, and across the Brooklyn Bridge, while pilgrims sang in both English and Spanish along the way. Some of the perpetual pilgrims even accompanied Cardinal Timothy Dolan by boat for a Eucharistic blessing at the Statue of Liberty. With three different dioceses coming together for these events, Bishop Brennan of the Diocese of Brooklyn observed how this was a beautiful example of being “a part of something much bigger than ourselves” and that “we’re not alone in our faith, but we’re never alone whenever we’re walking with the Lord” (The Tablet, May 27, 2024).

A crowd of religious and laypeople processing with the Eucharistic on the streets of New York City

St. Juan Diego Route (South)

The Juan Diego Route of the Pilgrimage journeyed through Corpus Christi, Texas, which is named after the Body of Christ. There, pilgrims participated in Encounter Nights, Mass at the cathedral, and a Eucharistic procession. The next stop was Presidio La Bahía, a Spanish fort and historical site of the Texas Revolution. After an evening of praise and worship, Mass was celebrated in the fort’s chapel before sending the Pilgrimage on its way to the Diocese of Victoria, Texas.

A key takeaway for the Perpetual Pilgrims was the local flavor of these events as participants celebrated our Eucharistic Lord in their own Texas way, from hospitality to using a white pickup truck to pull the open-air trailer that held the monstrance.

St. Junipero Serra Route (West)

After an exciting kickoff procession with about 4,000 pilgrims on the Golden Gate Bridge, the Pilgrimage made its way by boat up the Sacramento River to Sacramento, the capitol city of California (named for the Blessed Sacrament), for a Eucharistic procession in front of the state capitol building and Mass at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. Continuing eastward, the Pilgrimage stopped at several more parishes for adoration before embarking by boat across Lake Tahoe into the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. From there, Our Eucharistic Lord processed by car for about 260 miles of the high desert in the Diocese of Baker in Oregon. In the Diocese of Boise, multiple different parks held a “Gathering of Altars,” where the parishes of the area set up altars for the Eucharist to process between, stopping at each one for a Benediction.

Be sure to check back here often for a peek at what’s ahead for the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage!

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