Road Journal, Week 8: Almost There

July 11, 2024

In the second-to-last week of the Pilgrimage, several of the routes made it to the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, nearing the end of their historic journey. Along the way, pilgrims participated in service projects, visited historical and holy sites, and witnessed Our Lord touching hearts everywhere he went.

Marian Route

While in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend in Indiana, the Perpetual Pilgrims participated in a service project working on the Unity Garden in the Miami Village neighborhood, which is in the middle of a food desert. The garden’s aim is to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to the community. They also visited St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church for a time of Eucharistic adoration and sharing personal testimonies. The Pilgrimage Coordinator at the parish shared with a local news station that “These tremendous events will bring hundreds of Catholics to adore the Risen Lord right here in Fort Wayne and hear the testimonies of the pilgrims as they travel towards Indianapolis.”

One of the next steps on their way to Indianapolis included the University of Notre Dame, where pilgrims took part in a Eucharistic procession and Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, followed by a panel discussion on the Eucharist with renowned theology professors. The following day, pilgrims attended the world premiere of “Behold God’s Love: A Eucharistic Musical,” which was inspired by the medieval tradition of “mystery plays.” The composer told the National Catholic Register that she hoped this work of theater would help others encounter God’s personal love for them and give them a desire “to live and love more like Christ.”

Eucharistic procession on a sunny day with a canopy over the monstrance
Photo courtesy of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Route

The Seton Route stopped in Cincinnati for a Eucharistic procession through downtown and Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Peter in Chains. Participants then processed to Fountain Square for the “Jesus Is Here” Eucharistic Festival, which included a concert, food trucks, and family-friendly activities. The following day, pilgrims participated in a solemn procession from St. Lawrence Church to St. William Church, where they enjoyed a bilingual Holy Hour and a cookout with music from the local Hispanic community.

Among the pilgrims was a 69-year-old woman, who is following the entire Seton Route to Indianapolis. She shared a reflection with OSV News: “You know when you say, ‘One, holy, Catholic and apostolic church?’ I am experiencing that whole thing on this pilgrimage… I’m experiencing that huge Catholic Church.” And a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati told a local news outlet, “This kind of pilgrimage is special because a journey with the Eucharist is a journey with Jesus… Every place visited becomes a holy place.”

Eucharistic procession led by Knights of Columbus with rose petals on the ground
Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati

St. Juan Diego Route

This past week, the St. Juan Diego Route visited the Abbey of Gethsemani—the abbey where Thomas Merton lived from 1941 to 1968—to join the monks in prayer before a 7-mile procession to Holy Cross Church in Loretto, Kentucky. From there, they processed another 4.5 miles to the Sisters of Loretto Motherhouse for Evening Prayer. Sunday Mass was celebrated at the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral, followed by another procession to the historic St. Monica Catholic Church in Bardstown. 

After arriving in Louisville, Kentucky, the pilgrims visited Catholic Charities, the Archdiocese of Louisville History Center, and the site of the conversion of Thomas Merton. They also attended Mass at the Cathedral of the Assumption and participated in a Holy Hour at St. Augustine Catholic Church featuring the Archdiocesan Gospel Choir. Processing into Indiana, the Pilgrimage crossed the Big 4 Bridge over the Ohio River, where Archbishop Shelton Fabre of the Archdiocese of Louisville handed off the monstrance to Archbishop Charles Thompson of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

Eucharistic procession with St. Rose Priory Church in the background near Springfield, Kentucky
Photo courtesy of St. Rose Priory Church near Springfield, Kentucky

St. Junipero Serra Route

The Serra Route concluded its time in Missouri before crossing over into southern Illinois on its way to Indianapolis. In the diocese of Jefferson City, the pilgrims participated in bilingual Pilgrimage events with the local Hispanic community and completed a 12.5-mile procession on the Katy Trail. Then, in St. Louis, pilgrims participated in a service project with the Missionaries of Charity, ministering to refugees in the city. They also visited St. Josephine Bakhita Parish, a historically black parish, and attended Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, followed by a procession through the city.

Once in Illinois, the Pilgrimage visited the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, which hosted Emmaus Days family activities, featuring the Eucharist-themed artwork of thousands of the diocese’s children. A Eucharistic procession which drew hundreds of participants between the dioceses of Belleville and Springfield in Illinois included a formal transition of the monstrance between Bishop McGovern and Bishop Paprocki, followed by adoration at Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Collinsville.

Crowd of people outside a Catholic Church during a Eucharistic procession
Photo by the St. Louis Review, courtesy of the Archdiocese of St. Louis

To register to attend one of the remaining events of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, visit the interactive map here. You can also share your intentions with the Perpetual Pilgrims so they can pray for you during the final days of their journey. If you’re not able to participate in the Pilgrimage in person, consider making a pilgrimage on your own and praying for the National Eucharistic Revival and upcoming Congress!

Header photo courtesy of the Diocese of Jefferson City

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