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Article: Pilgrimage ends weeklong visit to diocese at Cathedral

The Catholic Times, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Columbus, published this article on July 3. All photos by Ken Snow.

A standing-room-only crowd packed Columbus St. Joseph Cathedral for the final Mass on Sunday, June 30 that culminated the weeklong visit of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage’s Seton Route through the Diocese of Columbus.

Bishop Earl Fernandes served as the principal celebrant of the Mass and Father Roger Landry, a chaplain on the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage’s Seton Route, was the homilist.

“In the ongoing Eucharistic Revival of the Catholic Church in the United States, the most important outcome is for us not just to recognize that the Eucharist really is Jesus Christ, the same Jesus who was in Mary’s womb for nine months, whom St. Joseph, the patron of this cathedral, held in his strong arm, who died on Calvary for us, rose from the dead on the third day, and ascended into Heaven 40 days later,” Father Landry said in his homily that was delivered in English and Spanish. “It’s not the main point of the Eucharistic Revival.

“It’s to learn how to treat that Eucharistic Lord Jesus the way Mary and Joseph treated Him as He was growing up, the way the disciples and apostles loved Him, the way the saints loved Him through the centuries, kept close to Him and had their lives changed by Him.

“We Catholics firmly believe, and forthrightly profess, that the Eucharist is not a thing. The Eucharist is not merely bread and wine. The Eucharist is in fact someone: the eternal Son of God, the Savior of the World, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords … and that He comes for us.”

He said the transformation of Jesus in the bread and wine into His body and blood should inspire his followers to respond fully to the gift of faith – and faith in his transcendent power.

“This is what the Eucharistic Revival is about, to revive us, to bring us to the fullness of life,” he said. “And this is what the Eucharistic Pilgrimage leads us to as Jesus today reaches out to us.”

After the 90-minute Mass, Bishop Fernandes carried the Blessed Sacrament outside onto Broad Street for a procession around the block that turned at Fourth Street and then onto Gay Street and Fifth Street before returning to the cathedral.

The procession paused five times at stops set up by ethnic ministries to pray a decade of the rosary in English, Tagalog, Igbo, Spanish and Swahili – languages spoken by Catholics in the diocese.

The final day concluded with a picnic and some brief testimonials from the pilgrims who are covered the entire route that started in May in Connecticut and wound its way along the East Coast and through Pennsylvania and West Virginia before crossing into Ohio.

The Department of Evangelization estimated that 7,000 people participated in the pilgrimage during its six days in the diocese.

The week began on Monday, June 24 in Somerset with Adoration, Mass and Eucharistic procession at historic St. Joseph Church, where Catholicism originated in Ohio. From there, the pilgrimage spent Tuesday, June 25 in Newark at Blessed Sacrament and St. Francis de Sales churches.

On Wednesday, June 26, Pickerington St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish hosted the pilgrimage for a day of Adoration, a special Mass commemorating the 25th anniversary of Father Landry’s ordination to the priesthood and a procession around the parish grounds.

The pilgrimage left Seton on Thursday, June 27, with a 1 ½-mile pilgrimage down Route 256 before the Blessed Sacrament was placed in the pilgrims’ van and transported to Columbus St. Catharine Church for a holy hour. Later that afternoon, the Blessed Sacrament was brought to Columbus Christ the King Church for Adoration and a Mass celebrated in Spanish by Bishop Earl Fernandes.

The first stop on Friday, June 28, was at Pickaway Correctional Institution in Orient for Adoration, Mass, a Eucharistic procession and fellowship with the men. It was the only visit to a prison on any of the four routes of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage.

On Friday afternoon, the Blessed Sacrament was brought to the Mother Angeline McCrory Manor for a Eucharistic procession and Holy Hour attended by residents and staff. The day concluded at Columbus St. Charles Preparatory School with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Fernandes and a talk by Father Landry followed by a visit to the Museum of Catholic Art and History in downtown Columbus.

A turnout of around 1,200 was on hand the next day at Westerville St. Paul the Apostle Church for Adoration, a Mass, Eucharistic procession and vocations fair on Saturday, June 29, the Solemnity of Ss. Peter and Paul.

After Sunday’s events at the Cathedral, the pilgrims left the next morning for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati before crossing into Indiana for the final leg of their journey leading to the National Eucharistic Congress on June 17-21 in Indianapolis.

“I want to simply say thank you to Father Landry, to the Franciscan Friars for the Renewal, to our lay Eucharistic missionaries and pilgrims who have been journeying with us the last six days,” Bishop Fernandes said at the picnic after Sunday’s Mass and procession at the Cathedral. “I can tell you their presence has been life changing in all the different parts of the diocese from Somerset where the seeds of Christianity were first planted in Ohio to our mother church and all along the way.

“They’ve been bringing great joy. They've been bringing the joy of knowing Jesus in the Eucharist to all the people of the Diocese of Columbus and so we're very grateful for their presence. … They were able to go into Pickaway Correctional to bring Jesus there. Even inside prison walls, Jesus’ mercy and love is relentless.

“They were able … to go to Mother Angeline McCrory and visit with the elderly. We had Mass with our Hispanic community and today we saw the great diversity of our diocese, whether it's the Latino communities or the African communities, men and women religious here present. We see people coming from everywhere to Columbus, because Jesus is here.”


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