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Day 10: A Memorial Day Acclamation

METUCHEN, NJ, May 27 — On Memorial Day, on which Americans remember and Catholic Americans pray for those who have paid the supreme sacrifice in the service of the country, the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage Seton Route lived a day in which they integrated that memorial within the context of another: Jesus' command to celebrate the Eucharist "in remembrance of me."

The day began with Mass at the Cathedral of St. James in Brooklyn, where Bishop Robert Brennan celebrated Mass on the 35th anniversary of his priestly ordination. During his homily, Bishop Brennan focused on the call of the Rich Young Man and Jesus' summons to the young man whom he looked on with love to follow him. The Brooklyn ordinary noted that sometimes, like the Rich Young Man, we are hindered from following the Lord by too many earthly concerns and goods. He encouraged the Seton Route pilgrims, who have packed lightly for their 65-day Eucharistic journey to Indianapolis, to continue to live dependent on the Lord.

After Mass, Bishop Brennan, a dozen priests from the Diocese, and about 100 pilgrims from the Diocese began an 11 mile Eucharistic procession. They were joined by 50 pilgrims from the Parish of Queen of the Most Holy Rosary from Bridgehampton, Long Island, who had left at 4:00 am from the outermost part of Long Island to be able to attend Mass and participate in the procession. They were accompanied by Diocese of Rockville Centre Bishop Luis Romero and Fr. Manuel Zuzarte.

The first leg of the five station pilgrimage was to Mother Cabrini Park, where St. Frances Xavier Cabrini had worked among Italian immigrants building and staffing a school and assisting to build a parish. The park is located where the Church used to be. While there, Bishop Romero imparted Eucharistic Benediction and Bishop Brennan led all those present in two prayers, one asking the intercession of St. Frances Cabrini and the second the prayer for the National Eucharistic Revival.

From there, the pilgrims traveled to the Church of Sacred Heart-St. Stephen-St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish for adoration and Benediction by Bishop Brennan.

Next was a long pilgrimage to Holy Family-St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, where after a period of adoration, Bishop Brennan once again imparted Eucharistic Benediction. A large group of pilgrims from the parish joined in the pilgrimage.

The next stop was St. Michael's Church, where there was a lengthier period of adoration followed by Benediction by the Bishop. More pilgrims joined the route, including a large number of servers from St. Michael's.

The final pilgrimage station in the Diocese of Brooklyn was at Our Lady of the Angels-St. Andrew Church, where, after a short period of adoration, Bishop Brennan gave Eucharistic benediction one more time. Shortly before arriving at the Church, downpours began but the pilgirmage continued.

After Our Lady of the Angels, the Seton Pilgrims brought Jesus in their support van to a marina in Brooklyn where they boarded a boat to take them to New Jersey. They were assisted by a four-car police motorcade for the King of Kings. At the marina, they were met once more by Bishop Brennan who helped to transport the Eucharistic Jesus to the boat, where Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Bishop Gerardo Colacicco, Bishop Edmund Whalen and a few others were waiting.

Along the journey, they prayed the Rosary, sang various Eucharistic hymns and Praise and Worship Music, and a fervorino from Cardinal Dolan about the Eucharistic dimension of his episcopal motto, Ad Quem Ibimus, "To whom shall we go, Lord?," St. Peter's words to Jesus after seeing many of his disciples abandon him over his teaching about the Holy Eucharist. The fervorino was requested by Father Roger Landry, chaplain to the Seton Route, who was a seminarian under then Monsignor Timothy Dolan when the latter was rector at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.

The boat ride was an opportunity for the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage to draw near the Statue of Liberty, to pray for the United States on Memorial Day, and to focus on how Jesus is the true source of freedom. The rains had stopped permitting Cardinal Dolan to give a benediction from the bow of the boat on all those present on Liberty Island. While on the boat, Cardinal Dolan also blessed Manhattan and gave a final benediction to the Seton Pilgrims as they were preparing to disembark in New Jersey.

In their support van, the pilgrims then traveled to the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi in Metuchen, where Bishop James Checchio and a group of faithful awaited as they arrived, applauding as Jesus approached. Father Landry brought the Blessed Sacrament into the sanctuary of the Cathedral and reposed until a night of Eucharistic adoration would begin at 7:15 pm.

Before exposition, Bishop Checchio blessed a crown to be placed by Natalie Garza, one of the pilgrims, on the top of a pilgrim image of Our Lady of Fatima that is traveling to Indianapolis ahead of the Seton Route.

During the adoration that followed, in a packed Cathedral, Father Landry gave a meditation entitled, "The Pilgrim Church on Earth: the Christian's Lifetime Procession with the Eucharistic Lod," in which he underlined the pilgrim nature of the Christian life and how that pilgrimage is accompanied by the Eucharistic Lord.

After Fr. Landry's talk, there was an hour of praise and worship music followed by another in Spanish. Then there was Eucharistic adoration throughout the night.


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