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Article: Our Blessed Mother Joins the Eucharistic Pilgrimage

Pilgrim statue tour kicks off in Month of Mary, in journey to Eucharistic Congress.


By Joseph Pronechen

National Catholic Register

May 8, 2024



This article originally appeared in the National Catholic Register.


To highlight a strong Marian aspect of the National Eucharistic Revival during the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, the World Apostolate of Fatima, USA is holding a “Eucharistic Revival Statue Tour” that will travel from the East Coast to the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis, arriving on July 16.


“This is our contribution to the Eucharistic Revival. We wanted Mary to pave the way for her Eucharistic Son, who’s coming across the country,” Barbara Ernster, the World Apostolate of Fatima USA/Blue Army’s national coordinator for this tour, told the Register. “Mary always points us to her Son.”


While the official “Seton Route” of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage begins on May 18-19 at St. Mary Church, part of Blessed Michael McGivney parish in New Haven, Connecticut, with an opening Mass followed by a Eucharistic procession, a week earlier on May 10-11, the Blue Army’s companion Eucharistic Revival Statue Tour begins 22 miles away at St. Theresa Church in Trumbull. From this start, the next stop will be the National Blue Army Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Washington, New Jersey, for the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13, before the pilgrimage continues through several states along the route to Indiana’s capital.


“We tried to stay as close to the Seton Route as possible. We’re going a week ahead because we don’t want to interfere with the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage and the things they are doing because they have their own itinerary,” Ernster said of the companion launch in Connecticut.


Mary Paves Way for the Eucharist


Tim Glemkowski, executive director of the Eucharistic Revival Congress, said in a letter of support that the pilgrim statue processions will “visibly demonstrate Our Blessed Mother’s accompaniment of this Eucharistic Revival journey the Church is undertaking collectively. The Eucharistic Revival, in my view, is distinctly Marian in its heart, part of the work of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts to heal, convert, form and unify the Church so that it can be sent on mission ‘for the life of the world.’ Our Blessed Mother never obscures her Son, but invites all to behold and know Him fully.”


“It only makes sense that Mary would be a big part of any Eucharistic procession,” Father Brian Gannon, pastor of St. Theresa Church, told the Register, as he drew the inseparable connections between the Eucharist and the Blessed Mother. He first emphasized that the Incarnation “occurred in the womb of the Blessed Mother,” adding, “Then every time Mass is celebrated and the Eucharist is confected, the flesh and the blood become manifest on the altar. So the beautiful parallel between our Blessed Mother and the intimate connection with her and the Most Holy Eucharist is the Word became flesh and dwelt among us first in her womb, and the Word continues to become flesh on the altar.”


Father Gannon explained how the parish’s perpetual adoration chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima continuously brings together the Eucharistic, Marian and Fatima messages. When the chapel was being built, the inclusion of a large painting of Sister Lucia’s vision of the Most Holy Trinity, which includes the Eucharistic and Marian connection, was planned.

“A big part of the reason why we did that was thinking about the angel appearing to the children in 1916 and emphasizing reverence for the Most Holy Eucharist. Then the children even received the Eucharist from the angel,” Father Gannon said. “That was extraordinary.”


“The message of Fatima is timeless and relevant and critical because it’s a call to reverence,” he added, furthering the connection. “It starts with reverence for the Eucharist, but then it’s a call to penance and a repentance of sin, which is, of course, what the Gospel is. The Holy Eucharist is central to a reconversion of the world and a reconversion of individual souls.”


A young girl prays before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.(Photo: World Apostolate of Fatima – Our Lady’s Blue Army)


Reparation, Renewal and Return


For the statue tour, the World Apostolate of Fatima is also including a “Let’s Pray Them Back” campaign, asking people all over the country to send in the names of the people they are praying for to return to the Church. Several hundred petitions from around the country have already rolled in.


“These petitions will be traveling with the statue along the way for all these Eucharistic adoration nights,” Ernster said. “And the parishes themselves will be asking parishioners to bring the names of people they are praying for, and then they will do a Eucharistic reparation together to pray for these people [to come] back to the Church. Throughout the tour, these names will be prayed for. We’re trying to do Eucharistic reparation to pray people back to the Church.” These petitions will be placed in the Immaculate Heart of Mary and carried to the National Eucharistic Congress.


Host parishes along the tour will offer prayer and “night vigils of Eucharistic reparation” for the return of fallen-away and marginal Catholics.


“The foundation of our faith is our belief in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament,” David Carollo, executive director for the WAF/Blue Army, said in a statement. “The foundation of the Fatima message is Eucharistic reparation. This is where the Angel of Peace at Fatima directed us more than a century ago. Mary accompanying her Son on this journey to Indianapolis is a reaffirmation of this.”


Father Gannon also emphasized this indispensable aspect: “It’s so critical that we raise consciousness in Catholics about the power and the glory of the Holy Eucharist because that’s where they experience Christ at the most powerful divine encounter on earth. The more that we can help Catholics to really understand the Eucharist, the more and more the world can be transformed, basically, through the grace of Almighty God. The Eucharist is central to everything … central to all of reality, because it’s the uncreated God becoming flesh all over again in every single Mass throughout the world. This is God’s original plan: that we were always meant to become in union with him and intimate with him.”


He said that the fact so many people have strayed from Mass is part of the reason why there’s so much confusion and rage in the world today: “The remedy is always Jesus Christ, and central to his remedy is reverence, love and proper partaking of the Most Holy Eucharist.”

Thus far, from Connecticut and New Jersey on May 13, the statue tour will be making stops in several churches in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Baltimore/Washington D.C., Ohio and Indiana. Ernster pointed out that this pilgrimage will be joining the walking part of pilgrimage as it comes to St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral in Metuchen, New Jersey, May 27-28.

For those not near one of the stops, the Blue Army urges people to join in by making a Holy Hour of reparation to the Heart of Jesus on their own, or a church can host a “Night of Love” vigil of reparation for the parish community.


Ernster said that at the Eucharistic Congress, the Pilgrim Virgin statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be given a place of honor and will be there for veneration during the youth and family Masses each morning.


Father Gannon summarized the importance of this pilgrimage and the Marian-Eucharistic connection by emphasizing: “Mary always brings us to Jesus, and she always points to Jesus. And all the great saints had a great devotion to Mary. Mary is inseparable from the Most Holy Eucharist. So the more we venerate Mary, the more the Eucharist will manifest greater power in our lives, too, because we’re reverencing the Mother of God, and Jesus is only going to grant us more graces.”


Joseph Pronechen is a parishioner of St. Theresa Church.


Joseph Pronechen is staff writer with the National Catholic Register since 2005 and before that a regular correspondent for the paper. His articles have appeared in a number of national publications including Columbia magazine, Soul, Faith and Family, Catholic Digest, Catholic Exchange, and Marian Helper. His religion features have also appeared in Fairfield County Catholic and in major newspapers. He is the author of Fruits of Fatima — Century of Signs and Wonders. He holds a graduate degree and formerly taught English and courses in film study that he developed at a Catholic high school in Connecticut. Joseph and his wife Mary reside on the East Coast.

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