A unique chance to meet Christ in our streets

3 mins read
National Eucharist Pilgrimage
Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori carries a monstrance under a canopy as he leads a Eucharistic procession during the 2017 "Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America" in Orlando, Fla. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

The upcoming National Eucharistic Pilgrimage is not just a momentous occasion in the liturgical calendar; it is a profound invitation to engage tangibly with our faith and our community. It promises to be one of the largest Eucharistic pilgrimages ever in the Church. Over four routes, pilgrims will spend 60 days on the road, traveling more than 6,500 miles. Along the way, hundreds of thousands will join in scheduled events of prayer and celebration. As Catholics, we understand the power of the Eucharist. Through this pilgrimage, we have the unique opportunity to celebrate it across our nation, making sacred the very ground we walk on.

Historically, pilgrimages have drawn believers from all corners to specific holy sites. However, the beauty of our National Eucharistic Pilgrimage is its accessibility. Not everyone can travel to Indianapolis this July to participate in the National Eucharistic Congress. But this pilgrimage is designed to make it possible for more of us to participate and to experience something deeply tangible and spiritual closer to home. Four pilgrimage routes, beginning in the north, south, east and west on May 17, will converge in Indianapolis on July 16.

Remember how people flocked to prime viewing locations during the recent solar eclipse? They gathered as a community to witness a rare celestial event, turning it into a day of communal joy and wonder. We are called to approach the Eucharistic pilgrimage with the same enthusiasm and communal spirit. This is not merely a walk undertaken by a core group designated “Perpetual Pilgrims”; it is a series of events that we can all take part in, a celebration of faith in motion. From prayer services and Masses to public blessings and community gatherings, this pilgrimage offers an abundance of activities designed to enrich our spiritual lives and strengthen our community bonds.

An encounter with Christ

In America, we often think we need to travel abroad to find authentic pilgrimage experiences. But this national event brings the pilgrimage to our doorstep — Christ will literally meet us on our streets. It’s a powerful reminder that the sacred can be found everywhere, especially within the ordinary spaces of our everyday lives.

The National Eucharistic Pilgrimage welcomes not just the Perpetual Pilgrims, the young people and their chaplains who will dedicate themselves to the entire journey, but all members of the Catholic community. If you are located along any of the four designated routes, seize the opportunity to encounter Jesus as he travels to you!

“From prayer services and Masses to public blessings and community gatherings, this pilgrimage offers an abundance of activities designed to enrich our spiritual lives and strengthen our community bonds.”

In our bustling lives, it can be a challenge to find moments of peace and spiritual reflection. The National Eucharistic Pilgrimage presents a unique opportunity for Catholics to reconnect with their faith and with one another. It’s a journey that goes beyond geographic routes — it’s a call to deepen our relationship with Christ in everyday settings and special moments alike — but planning is essential. You can use the interactive map on the Eucharistic Pilgrimage’s website to explore all of the stops and events along each route and to register for the ones you want to attend. (Some of the events will have limited space, so registration is essential.)

As you explore the list of events, remember that this pilgrimage is an opportunity for evangelization. Perhaps you know someone who hesitates to attend Mass but might be intrigued by participating in this unique event. Invite him or her! It’s a chance to witness our faith in action, a way to experience the revival of our Church community firsthand.

An invitation to faith

The National Eucharistic Pilgrimage is more than a religious event; it’s an invitation to step forward together to be part of something greater than ourselves. As the Perpetual Pilgrims walk, and we join them in prayer and celebration, we are reminded of our journey toward Christ together as a community. Let’s make this pilgrimage a memorable demonstration of our faith and collective witness.

For those who cannot join any of the events along the four routes of the pilgrimage, we urge you to embark on a personal pilgrimage in unity with the larger movement. Consider something as simple as walking with your family to Mass rather than driving, or attending Mass at a Catholic church you don’t normally visit. This simple act of visiting a new church can be your family’s own (or your own personal) mini-pilgrimage, reminding you that the Church is universal, connected by faith and the celebration of the Eucharist.

So, mark your calendars, plan your journey, and let’s step out in faith and fellowship. This pilgrimage promises to be a stepping stone for both personal and communal revival. Don’t miss out on this spiritual adventure — it’s an experience that promises to enrich and perhaps even transform your life of faith.

Our Sunday Visitor Editorial Board

The Our Sunday Visitor Editorial Board consists of Father Patrick Briscoe, OP, Gretchen R. Crowe, Matthew Kirby, Scott P. Richert and York Young.