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Day 13 — Crossing the Delaware River with Jesus

NEWTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA, May 30 — The thirteenth day of the National Eucharistic Pilgirmage's Seton Route began with Mass at St. Mary, Mother of the Church Parish in Bordentown, New Jersey celebrated by the Bishop of Trenton, David O'Connell, CM, on the 42nd annivesary of his first Mass.

With eight concelebrants and a packed Church, Bishop O'Connell preached on how the Eucharistic Revival in general, and the Eucharistic pilgrimage in particular, is the Church's "Bartimaeus Moment," based on the scene of Jesus with a blind man in Jericho taken from that day's Gospel.

After Mass, there was a Eucharistic procession to Hilltop Park, where the first Catholics in Bordentown, who were building a canal from the Delaware River, constructed a small hut to worship. Bishop O'Connell, who has a prosthetic leg, carried the Blessed Sacrament in a golf cart. At the Park, Fr. Martin O'Reilly, pastor of St. Mary, Mother of the Church and coordinator of the National Eucharistic Revival and Pilgrimage for the Diocese of Trenton, gave a fervorino on the faith of the first Catholics in Bordentown and what we can learn from them, before pilgrim Fr. PIerre Toussaint Guiteau imparted Eucharistic Benediction.

From there, the National Pilgrims transported the Eucharistic Lord to Trenton to carry him across a bridge spanning the Delaware River from New Jersey to Pennsylvania. At the end of the short journey, Seton Pilgrimage chaplain Father Roger Landry handed the Blessed Sacrament to Bishop O'Connell who placed the Lord on a stational altar for worship and a short prayer service.

Bishop O'Connell thanked the Lord Jesus for coming to the Diocese of Trenton and asked the Lord to bless the pilgrims who will take him to Indianapolis. Then Bishop Joseph McIntyre, auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia, welcomed Jesus to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

After that, Bishop McIntyre led Jesus on a short procession to the Church of the Holy Trinity in Morriville, Pennsylvania, for adoration and midday prayer. The procession was welcomed by all of the students of Holy Trinity school.

Next pilgrims brought the Eucharist to St. John the Evangelist Church in Morrisville for adoration, a Eucharistic procession on parish grounds, and midday prayer anew.

The next stop was St. Andrew's Parish in Newtown. The pilgrims drove Jesus to the Olde St. Andrew's Church for a period of adoration before a 45-minute procession with dozens of servers and several hundred faithful to new St. Andrew's Church, where there was two hours of adoration before a prayer service at night.

While adoration was going on, there was a dinner for pilgrims with the parish clergy and staff, where they celebrated together the 86th birthday of the pastor of the parish, Msgr. Michael Picard.

At the Prayer Service, in a full Church that included Philadelphia Archbishop Nelson Perez, there was a Liturgy of the Word focused on the readings from the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, a homily by Father Roger Landry and a witness by pilgrim Zoe Dongas.

Father Landry focused on St. Mark's description of the preparations for Passover and the institution narrative of Jesus and discussed what we can all learn from St. Andrew on how to relate to Jesus in the Eucharist and bring others to the Eucharistic Jesus.

Dongas shared how she learned Eucharistic love from the Dominicans of St. Cecilia in Nashville and how she grew to interiorize her Eucharistic faith as a young adult in New York City, where she recognized that Jesus was there to welcome her. She also gave a moving testimony of how she needed to make the choice between going on this pilgrimage and keeping her job, which was an experience that has helped her, she said, grow in trust in the Eucharistic Lord.

Father Landry finished the holy hour by imparting benediction.

The last event of the day was a Theology on Tap session with Archbishop Perez at a local restaurant. Before a standing room only group of young adults, Archbishop Perez had the pilgrims introduce themselves, spoke to everyone about the life and insights of Blessed Carlo Acutis on the Eucharist and took a half hour of questions.

Here are various pictures from the very rich day.

Here is a beautiful video from the Diocese of Trenton of the ceremonies at the Delaware River.


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