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Article: For Local Faithful Who Joined the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, ‘Jesus Is Alive in the Eucharist’

This article appeared in The Tablet.

By John Lavenburg The Tablet May 27, 2024

PROSPECT HEIGHTS — Almost halfway across the Brooklyn Bridge toward Manhattan on May 26, “amazing” was the only word Riya D’Souza-Pereira could come up with to describe the scene around her of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage. 

“I don’t have words to say, but it’s giving me goosebumps just that they’re coming there and we’re coming to meet our Lord over here and from here it goes ahead,” D’Souza-Pereira said. “It’s just amazing.”

D’Souza-Pereira was referring to the the Archdiocese of New York and Diocese of Brooklyn converging on the Brooklyn Bridge, where around 4:15 p.m., Auxiliary Bishop Gerardo Colacicco handed-off a monstrance to Bishop Robert Brennan for the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage to continue on into Brooklyn. 

D’Souza-Pereira was one of hundreds of Diocese of Brooklyn Catholics who departed from the Cathedral Basilica of St. James in Downtown Brooklyn around 3:30 p.m. with Bishop Brennan to converge with the Archdiocese of New York pilgrims. 

The Tablet spoke with a number of Catholics who partook in the pilgrimage, all of whom had sentiments similar to D’Souza-Pereira’s. They all came out to show their love for the Eucharist, and to make sure Brooklyn’s presence was felt on the national pilgrimage.

“For Catholics, the Eucharist is the source and summit of our lives and I can’t think of a better way to bring that message to the world than something like this kind of display of solidarity, and faith, and conviction,” Joe Cerato said. “I think it’s tremendous that we can be a part of what’s happening across the country.”

Ruth Perez, who participated in the pilgrimage with a group from St. Matthias Catholic Church in Ridgewood, said it’s important to show the world that God exists. 

“For us it’s very important because we believe in Jesus and the Eucharist, and we need to show the world that God exists and Jesus is with us always, as He promised that He’s going to be with us,” Perez said. 

Karin Mille came from the Diocese of Metuchen, New Jersey, to participate in the pilgrimage. She was actually in the city on May 26 to be with her sister, who is ill, and decided to follow the pilgrimage from St. Patrick’s Cathedral to Lower Manhattan, before driving into Brooklyn to partake in the journey to the Brooklyn Bridge.

Mille said “it’s wonderful” that so many people participated in the pilgrimage. However, she said if the lay faithful spread the word more the crowd could’ve been even bigger. 

“It seems a lot of people aren’t even aware of this, and so it seems we, as people, need to talk this up more and more because everybody is not at church at the same time,” Mille said. “I think that people are hungry and we just have to keep talking about these things.” 

On the procession from the Cathedral Basilica of St. James to the Brooklyn Bridge, walking ahead of everybody, even Bishop Brennan, was Jon Paolo Marasigan. Marasigan was the crossbearer of the procession. 

He also brought together parishioners young and old from St. Mary Gate of Heaven Parish in Ozone Park to participate. He is the youth minister at the parish, and after they couldn’t participate in the Diocesan Eucharistic Revival due to a scheduling conflict, he decided it was important for them to experience the pilgrimage. 

Marasigan said it was important to show the parish’s youth that the church is alive. 

“There are hundreds and thousands of Catholics just in our local diocese that believe in our Catholic faith, believe that Jesus is alive in the Eucharist, and I want them to be able to see that and experience that through something like this and the Eucharistic Revival,” Marasigan said.


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