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Day 16 — Pulling Out All the Stops for Jesus on Corpus Christi

UPPER DARBY, PA, June 2 — The sixteenth day of the Seton Route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage was the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Body and Blood of the Lord, and the pilgrims participated in an extraordinarily beautiful Mass at Philadelphia's Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul and then in a Eucharistic Procession from the Cathedral to the Church of St. Patrick, where the Lord and those accompanying him were welcomed with trumpets, fanfare, and adoration.

The pilgrims' day began at the 11:00 am Mass in a standing-room-only Cathedral, which includes the Shrine of St. Katherine Drexel, the Philadelphia native and foundress of the Missionary Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.

Archbishop Nelson Perez celebrated the Mass, which was concelebrated by auxiliary Bishop John McIntyre and ten priests. Seton Route pilgrims Dominic Carstens and Amayrani Higueldo proclaimed the first and second readings, in English and Spanish, respectively, and Seton Route chaplain Father Roger Landry preached the homily.

In his homily, Father Landry, quoting St. Thomas Aquinas from his Lauda Sion Sequence sung before the Gospel, said that the theme of Corpus Christi is to "dare to do all you can," and said that that boldness is what explains Eucharistic processions, the National Eucharistic Congress and Pilgrimage, the lives of saints like St. John Neumann and St. Katherine Drexel and so much more.

After Mass, there was a solemn Eucharistic procession expertly coordinated by Cathedral Rector Father G. Dennis Gill to the Church of St. Patrick about a mile away. In addition to clergy and National Eucharistic pilgrims, there were dozens of first communicants dropping rose petals before the monstrance, and several hundred faithful.

When the procession reached St. Patrick's Church, Jesus and those accompanying him were greeted with trumpet fanfare outside the Church and the organ inside the Church as the Lord Jesus was brought to the altar, all of the pews were filled in, and people stood around the sides of the enormous Church, led since 2018 by priests of the St. Joseph Province of the Order of Preachers.

After Archbishop Perez, who carried the Blessed Sacrament the length of the procession, incensed the Lord on the altar, Fr. Jordan Kelly, OP, proclaimed the Gospel and preached a short homily on responding with love to the Eucharistic love of the Lord. Then Archbishop Perez imparted Eucharistic Benediction.

After Mass, there was a jubilant reception with pizza and desserts co-hosted by the Youth and Young Adult Office of the Archdiocese, headed by Father Stephen DeLacy, and St. Patrick's Parish, led by Fr. Hyacinth Cordell, OP.

Later in the afternoon, the Pilgrimage continued to St. Laurence Parish in Upper Darby, where there was Eucharistic Adoration throughout the afternoon until a Holy Hour at 7 pm, where Father Landry gave a bilingual reflection in which he spoke in English about the history of the Eucharistic miracle that led to Corpus Christi and what it means for us today and in Spanish about the parish patron, St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr, and .what we can learn from him about how to relate to the Eucharistic Jesus

During the Holy Hour, pilgrims Dominic Carstens gave a witness in English and Amayrani Higueldo gave another in Spanish. At the end of the Holy Hour, pastor Father Thomas Wittingham imparted Eucharistic benediction.

These photos are from the great Jeffrey Bruno.

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