Eucharistic procession in Charlotte, North Carolina – Wikimedia
“It will be one of the greatest Eucharistic pilgrimages in history…”. The description sounds more than certain, but in general it could be true. On May 19 next year, Pentecost Sunday, four Eucharistic pilgrimages will begin from four places in the United States that mark their cardinal points: the sources of the Mississippi River in Lake Itasca (Minnesota) to the north, New Haven (Connecticut) to the east, Brownsville, Texas to the south, and San Francisco, California to the west. Crossing the country over two months, pilgrimages or processions will meet in Indianapolis, where the Tenth National Eucharistic Congress will be celebrated from July 17-21. This initiative is out of the ordinary both in terms of logistical effort and symbolic scope.
Concerning the former, it suffices to think that the longest route, that which begins in the west, and which is called the Serra Route by San Junípero Serra, California missionary, is 3,500 kilometres; Luxor, to the east, Seton Road, named after the first native saint of the United States, Elizabeth Ann Seton, is about 1,500 kilometers. It will be processions that will take their most ceremonial form—with a canopy, a cross, Eucharistic chants—in important populated centres, in other areas there will be a priest or deacon who will attend the Eucharist followed by a procession in prayer, while other extensions will remain brief with displacements on four wheels. There the Blessed Sacrament will travel in a white electric car created for the occasion: the appearance is that of a covered popemobile, with a seat in the middle for the beast and a seat for some worshipers behind them. “Sometimes it is used in case of bad weather, while sometimes it is used for safety purposes, while others are used to cover roads that are difficult to walk on foot,” explains Will Peterson, organizational director of the initiative. Many desert areas. These automated movements will also make it possible to make all routes last at the same time, for a coordinated arrival in Indianapolis. Anyone who wants to take part in the whole thing for a few days or for several weeks can – independently organize his overnight stay, even if it is envisaged to help Catholic dioceses and institutions – but for every procession/pilgrimage there will be a strong core of participants who will be stable for the two months. The Franciscan Friars of Renewal, the congregation founded in New York in 1987 by Father Benedict Grochel, will provide most of the priests for the task.
The Four Eucharistic Pilgrimages to End in Indianapolis – National Eucharistic Congress, Inc.
As for the symbolic scale, the roads would touch university campuses, towns, or shrines that have marked the history of Catholicism with stars and stripes, drawing a perfect cross on the map of the United States of America. “It will be a way to meet people, in prayer, and testify to our faith,” Tim Glimkowski, CEO of the company organizing the Indianapolis event tells us. “. The road stages will be officially presented on Wednesday with relative details.
The Four Eucharistic Processions and the National Eucharistic Conference—which also has its own extraordinary character, since the previous one took place 83 years ago, in June 1941 in St. Paul, Minnesota—is the culmination of the Eucharistic renewal project launched by the US Conference of Bishops in November 2020. Which It was contemplated in turn after an event that occurred a year ago. In August 2019, the Pew Research Center, one of the most popular social research institutes, released data from a survey about the faith of a portion of Americans who call themselves Catholics. Of these, 69% of those interviewed considered the bread and wine consecrated during the Mass merely as symbols of Christ’s presence and only 31% believed that they were in fact the Body and Blood of the Lord. The poll also raised questions about its accuracy, but everyone admitted that it highlighted a deep sectarian crisis, and not only that. The idea of launching the Eucharist Renewal Program came to one of the most famous preachers in the United States, Robert Barron, then Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles and now Bishop of Winona of Rochester in Minnesota, and was later embraced by the Bishop of Conference, with Andrew Cousins, also Bishop of Croxton in Minnesota, Chairman of the National Commission for Evangelization and Christian Education, he was chosen as a reference figure for the project.
Meanwhile, many dioceses encouraged or revitalized public Eucharistic processions. Last March 25, Archbishop Jose Gomez led a 10-kilometer march through downtown Los Angeles, Archbishop of Miami Thomas Winsky asked all parish priests to hold Eucharistic processions for the feast of the Blessed Sacrament next June, while the Blessed Sacrament will be carried in The streets of Washington, D.C., next Sunday, in a procession organized by the local Catholic Information Center. of which its director, Father Charles Trullis, said, “it houses the dwelling nearest the White House.” He added, “I have absolute faith in the many blessings that God will bestow upon our country when Christ’s true presence is brought to the streets of the capital.”
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