Road Journal, Week 6: Healing and Unity

July 1, 2024

Amidst more processions in cities and country roads, a boatercade on the Ohio River, and multicultural expressions of worship, the Pilgrimage continued to witness to the healing and unifying power of the Eucharist this past week.

Marian Route

The Marian Route concluded its time in Wisconsin this week, including over 50 stops in the Milwaukee area. One of those stops was especially moving as the procession paused to pray at the Main Street Parade Memorial in Waukesha, where multiple people were killed and others injured when an SUV drove through a parade in 2021. Rev. Patrick Heppe, who was one of the injured, led a time of prayer remembering the victims of the tragedy and praying for healing for the community.

Kai Weiss, a Perpetual Pilgrim on the Marian Route, expressed his concerns about the hurt and division in our country as well as his hope that “by having Jesus being carried throughout the country in the form of a cross… this country can also find some kind of healing…” And a participant in the procession shared that “she hopes the pilgrimage brings healing to the community of Waukesha” and that “the pilgrimage has taught her that despite her suffering, Jesus still loves her.” 

A large crowd of people outside in a park standing and singing during a National Eucharistic Pilgrimage event

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Route

The Seton Route spent time in both West Virginia and Ohio this past week. The highlight was a joint-diocesan “boatercade” event on June 23 with the bishops of Steubenville and Wheeling-Charleston. Aboard a sternwheeler on the Ohio River, the bishops blessed both the Ohio and West Virginia sides of the river, as well as other stops along the way. This event was especially fitting for that day, as the Sunday Gospel reading was from Mark chapter 4, when Jesus calmed the storm while in a boat with his disciples!

Another event included a meet-and-greet with the Perpetual Pilgrims at Holy Family Church in Steubenville. Dominic Carstens shared some of his experiences on the Pilgrimage so far, including how the Eucharist gives him endurance on long days of walking in the heat. He also reflected on the communities the Pilgrimage had visited which were struggling with poverty and addiction, and how this is a “reminder that Jesus wants to come into every individual’s personal places of brokenness” and provide healing.

Eucharistic procession on a boat on the river

St. Junipero Serra Route

The Serra Route formally transitioned from the Diocese of Lincoln to the Archdiocese of Omaha last week. A 4.5-mile Eucharistic procession from The Cloisters on the Platte to the Holy Family Shrine drew over 500 participants, despite the temperature being in the 90s. The following day, adoration was held at St. Augustine Indian Mission in Winnebago, which was founded by St. Katherine Drexel for grade schoolers from the Omaha and Winnebago tribes. The school still preserves the traditional Native American culture and language, a testament to unity of the Catholic faith across cultures.

At its first public event in Kansas, the Pilgrimage visited Benedictine College in Atchison for a procession over the Amelia Earhart Bridge, followed by Vespers and Solemn Benediction, an evening celebration with dinner, and overnight adoration at the campus. Check out some incredible photos on Benedictine College’s LinkedIn and Facebook pages!

Eucharistic procession over the Amelia Earhart Bridge in Kansas
Photo courtesy of Benedictine College

St. Juan Diego Route

The Juan Diego Route spent time in the Diocese of Atlanta this week, praying and worshiping with the Vietnamese, African American, and Hispanic Catholic communities there. Bishop John-Nhàn Trần led an evening of Thanksgiving and Witness at Our Lady of Vietnam Catholic Church. At St. Joseph Church in Dalton, the Hispanic community went all-out to welcome our Eucharistic Lord. Festivities included live musicians, performers dancing with maracas and drums, flowers and images of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and hymns sung in Spanish. Some of the Perpetual Pilgrims even gave their testimonies in Spanish! Nocturnal adoration went all through the night and concluded at 7 AM before the Pilgrimage began its travels toward the Diocese of Knoxville.

At the Lyke House at Atlanta University Center—a consortium of four historically Black colleges and universities—Pilgrims joined the African American community in worshiping Our Lord through Gospel music. And at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, “known as the mother church of African American Catholics in Atlanta,” the Pilgrims participated in morning prayer before going out into the community for a day of Eucharistic service.

Aleteia reports the words of Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta Bernard E. Shlesinger III: “It’s truly a universal Church, but what makes the Church is the Eucharist. We are one family gathered around the altar.”

Large crowd at an outdoor Eucharistic procession with Hispanic flags

Follow the Pilgrimage on the Pilgrims’ Digest blog and on social media, and be sure to register for one of the free Pilgrimage events in a diocese near you. Plus, you can share your prayer intentions with the Perpetual Pilgrims and plan your own pilgrimage if you’re not able to join us in person. Together, let’s spread the fire of Eucharistic faith in our communities!

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