top of page

Article: Norristown Woman Set To Hit the Pavement Ahead of Eucharistic Congress

By Matthew Gambino

Posted May 15, 2024

CatholicPhilly recently spoke with Amayrani Higueldo-Sanchez, 26, who is serving as an archdiocesan perpetual pilgrim this summer and will walk thousands of miles across the eastern United States ahead of the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis in July.

This article origionally appeared on CatholicPhilly.

The two-year long National Eucharistic Revival in the United States was launched by the Catholic bishops in 2022 in response to what is seen as flagging belief and mixed understanding of the central Catholic belief that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist.

Polling suggests about half of Catholics hold this belief, and half do not.

But you would not get the impression of confusion at St. Patrick Parish in Norristown, Montgomery County, according to one young adult parishioner.

“You hear the statistics [about belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist] but that doesn’t apply to St. Patrick’s,” said Amayrani Higueldo-Sanchez, 26, who will soon begin a walking pilgrimage featuring eucharistic processions through the eastern U.S. this summer.

“The focus on the Eucharist is not really talked about,” but the belief is lived by the predominantly Latino parishioners according to Higueldo-Sanchez.

Nonetheless, because of the upcoming revival, Higueldo-Sanchez says, “We get to talk about the eucharistic Lord.”

Higueldo-Sanchez not only holds a strong devotion to Christ in the Eucharist, but she also wants to share it with six other Catholic young adults and thousands of others on the pilgrimage that will stretch from Connecticut to New York to Pennsylvania – with a stop in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia May 30 – June 3.

The pilgrimage will continue through Maryland, Virginia, and the Washington area, then west through Ohio and finally to Indianapolis for the culminating 10th National Eucharistic Congress and the close of the revival.

A native of Acapulco, Mexico, her family settled in Norristown. Along with her two youngest siblings she went through the parish’s religious education program where they received their Catholic sacraments of initiation.

At the age of 17, she went on a Catholic youth retreat in New York City and during a holy hour, “I felt the piercing gaze of our Lord. I knew I was redeemed,” Higueldo-Sanchez said.

While in previous years she practiced her faith on occasion, as a result of her conversion experience, “I really came back to the faith and was learning more,” she said. “I want to share what for me is the source of light and invite others in an encounter with the eucharistic Lord. He wants to transform hearts; how can I not talk about it?”

As plans for the revival’s pilgrimage took shape, young adults began to take notice. A friend of Amayrani sent her a link to information on the pilgrimage, which includes four routes streaming across the country May – July toward Indianapolis. The Seton route, which travels the East Coast, will cross through the Archdiocese of Philadelphia later this month.

As she read more about the initiative, she became attracted by the prospect of “spending two months in perpetual adoration of our Lord,” she said.

She took the matter to prayer, applied to become one of the 24 pilgrims chosen for the journey, and was accepted.

“This is divine providence at its best,” she said. “It’s a privilege, a gift for me to invite others.”

She will do this on the pilgrimage by leading eucharistic walking processions especially through densely populated eastern cities, inviting the devout and the curious to come out and encounter Christ in their neighborhoods.

This is the Lord’s desire for his people, Higueldo-Sanchez believes, to encounter them and heal them.

“We are going to experience so much healing,” she said.

This healing is necessary because “people are so broken in their lives. The Lord wants to redeem them. There’s a lot of sadness [in] not knowing you are loved.”

She and the other pilgrims “will let people know they are all known and loved by him, and he brings about healing.”

Higueldo-Sanchez has first-hand experience of dealing with sadness and hard times as a young adult for a few years. “But the power of the Lord, through daily Mass, the rosary and my prayer life, letting myself be known [by Jesus] has led to intense healing and deep intimacy with him.”

She also recommends the sacrament of reconciliation as “a big source of healing.”

“I’m looking forward to seeing how the Lord wants to work in the people we encounter, the way he transforms them. I’m excited to have a front-row seat,” she said.

There isn’t much sitting now for Amayrani as she trains by walking three to six miles a day. That will help prepare her for 10 to 15 miles of walking per day on the pilgrimage, and perhaps 20 miles a day in the New York region, she anticipates.

While Higueldo-Sanchez says she does not have an outgoing personality and prefers one-on-one encounters, she does enjoy sharing her faith.

She is looking forward to “having personal encounters,” including with fellow Spanish speakers, during the eucharistic processions through “simple conversations and encounters where the person is welcoming to them, not preaching to them.”

Higueldo-Sanchez hopes to learn more about the many cultures of people she will meet as they “help me to grow in faith as I share what the Lord is doing,” she said.


For the full schedule of opportunities for prayer, processions, and other Eucharistic events in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, visit here.


bottom of page