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Article: National Catholic pilgrimage scheduled to take place in Westminster June 5

Kevin Dayhoff

Baltimore Sun (Original article linked here)

June 3, 2024

On June 5, a once in a lifetime event for the Carroll County Catholic community will take place when a portion of the “Seton Route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage” procession comes to Westminster. Be aware that there will be traffic delays in downtown Westminster from 5 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. on the day of the Eucharistic Procession.

According to information found on the St. John Catholic Church website, beginning at 5 p.m., travelers with the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage and Archdiocese of Baltimore’s seminarians will begin a Eucharistic procession from St. John at 43 Monroe St., to the historic St. John Catholic Cemetery in downtown Westminster. The procession will then return to St. John and end with the benediction. There will be a cookout at the church immediately after the procession.

The historic cemetery is significant because its roots go back to the earliest days of the Catholic Church in America. According to a cemetery website, “St. John Roman Catholic Church began with the donation of four acres by John Logsdon on February 28, 1777, to Rev. Charles Sewell of York Co., Pennsylvania for the establishment of a cemetery and church.

“A frame building was constructed on the cemetery grounds at that time, and the members of the ‘Winchester Catholic Community’ were able to celebrate Mass approximately once a month. … A small brick church was constructed on the cemetery grounds in 1805, and was called ‘Christ Church.’

“[U]nder the tutelage of Father Gloyd, the building of the third church on April 18, 1865, [was] located on East Main Street where the Westminster Branch of the Carroll County Library currently stands.” In 1972 the church moved to what we know today as “The Portico.” In 2003, the church moved into its present location, across from The Portico, at 43 Monroe St.

The June 11, 2023, service at the historic St. John Cemetery during the Corpus Christi Celebration and Blessing of Westminster procession from St. John Catholic Church at 43 Monroe St. to the historic St. John Cemetery in downtown Westminster and back. On June 5, a portion of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage will travel the same route and once again conduct a service at the cemetery. (Courtesy St. John Catholic Church)

As for the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage events, the St. John website explains, “This historic Eucharistic procession across America features four different routes, all converging at the end in Indianapolis for the 10th National Eucharistic Congress.”

The National Eucharistic Pilgrimage website reports that the Seton Route “is named after St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American-born saint to be canonized by the Catholic Church. A lifelong protestant, the young mother was drawn to the Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. St. Elizabeth Ann opened the first free Catholic school for girls in America in 1810. Her work laid the foundation for what is now the parochial school system. …The eastern Seton Route will be punctuated by many meaningful stops. Pilgrims will visit holy sites, embrace the sacraments daily … [on the] way to the 10th National Eucharistic Congress…”

The Westminster portion of the Seton Route procession began in New Haven, Connecticut, on May 17. From New Haven, the pilgrimage has been making its way to the 10th National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis; by way of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Westminster, the Mother Seton Shrine in Emmitsburg, Pittsburgh, and Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio.

Of the other four routes, the northern Marian Route, began, according to the National Eucharistic website, at “the headwaters of the Mississippi. … The Pilgrimage will descend through the midwestern United States, pass through Wisconsin and Illinois, and meet up with the other three Pilgrimage routes in Indianapolis… The Marian Route is named for its visit to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Champion — formerly Our Lady of Good Help — the first and only approved Marian Apparition site in the United States…”

From the south, the St. Juan Diego Route began at “the tip of Texas in Brownsville, [it has traveled] around the Gulf of Mexico — an area chosen for its deep Catholic roots — and passed through the southeastern region of the United States on its way to Indianapolis…,” according to the national website. “This route is named for St. Juan Diego, whose vision of Our Lady has had a massive impact on the spiritual character of North America.”

At 5 p.m. on June 5, 2024, travelers with the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage will begin a Eucharistic procession from St. John at 43 Monroe Street to the historic St. John Catholic Cemetery in downtown Westminster. The Procession will then return to St. John and end with Benediction. There will be a cookout at the church immediately after the procession. (Courtesy St. John Catholic Church)

From the west, the St. Junipero Serra Route began on the Pacific coast. “The Pilgrimage has crossed the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains on foot. The Junipero Serra Route will be the longest and most challenging branch of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage — covering over 2,200 miles. … This route is named after the ‘Apostle of California,’ St. Junipero Serra, a missionary priest who dedicated his life to administering the sacraments to Indigenous people and Spanish settlers across the west coast of our continent. He traveled approximately 24,000 miles throughout his ministry, mostly on foot.”

An article in the Hagerstown Herald-Mail on May 26, explained that on June 6, the day after the Westminster portion of the pilgrimage, the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage will make “a daylong stop at the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg.  … Catholics believe the Eucharist is the body of Jesus Christ, and processions have long been a way for the faithful to show their devotion. Mother Seton, a convert to Catholicism, experienced an especially intense devotion to the Eucharist that resonates to this day.

“All procession-related activities … are free and open to the public, though visitors are asked to register online for planning purposes.” You can register for the Westminster activities at:

Steve Sinnott, Rosalyn Thackston, and Father Mark Bialek contributed to this article.

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster. His Time Flies column appears every Sunday. Email him at


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