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Article: 100s of ways for faithful to be part of Eucharistic pilgrimage

By John Burger, Aleteia

Note: This article originally appeared on Aleteia on March 2, 2024

Four routes, from north, east, south and west, give people along the way a chance to attend events with "perpetual pilgrims."

There will be hundreds of opportunities for people to honor the Eucharist and interact with pilgrims as they carry the Blessed Sacrament across four pilgrimage routes to the National Eucharistic Congress this summer.

Organizers of the Congress and Pilgrimage, in a webinar on Thursday, discussed highlights of the four routes, coming from all four compass points of the continental US and converging on Indianapolis, where the Eucharistic Congress kicks off on July 17.

The pilgrimage, which commences on May 17, will form a cross covering the “lower 48,” with starting points at San Francisco; Brownsville, Texas; New Haven, Connecticut, and the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Lake Itasca in Minnesota.

The congress and pilgrimage are the capstone events of a National Eucharistic Revival the US bishops have spearheaded to foster greater belief in and love of Christ in the Eucharist.

Organizers last year invited young people to apply to become “perpetual pilgrims” for the four routes.

Will Peterson, president and founder of Modern Catholic Pilgrim, the official pilgrimage partner of the National Eucharistic Congress, said during the webinar that those pilgrims have been identified and there was a retreat for them over the Presidents Day weekend. They will be introduced during another webinar on March 21.

Pilgrims and history

Peterson said that stops along the pilgrimage routes will highlight many aspects of American Catholic history. Part of the Serra Route, which begins in San Francisco, will be a boat ride down the Sacramento River – a body of water that was named for the Blessed Sacrament, for example. Pilgrims on the Seton Route will spend a night in the house where St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, for whom the route is named, lived in New York.

There are also several coincidences that Peterson called “Godwinks,” such as the fact that pilgrims on the Marian Route will be in Chicago on the Feast of St. Thomas – the apostle who initially doubted Christ’s Resurrection – and will hold a public event at the Mar Thomas Sleeha Cathedral. That is the seat of the Syro-Malabar Eparchy of Chicago, part of a Church that traces its roots to a land St. Thomas himself evangelized – India. 

Likewise, the Serra Pilgrims will arrive at the final resting place of Venerable Augustine Tolton in Quincy, Illinois, on the anniversary of that African American priest’s death. 

Events are planned for those stops, as well as many others, which have been organized on the local level in coordination with the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage. There is an interactive map where people can find out what’s on tap in their area register for events. 

Find an event local to you here.


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