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Day 19 — Triumphing Over Obstacles and Praying before the Route's Celestial Patron

EMMITSBURG, MD, June 5 — The Seton Route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage reached one of the climactic portions of its 65-day journey, arriving in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where St. Elizabeth Ann Seton moved in 1809 to found the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph, establish the first free school for girls, and lived until her death on January 4, 1821.

Upon their arrival they received a private tour by Rob Judge, Executive Director of the Seton Shrine, Becca Corbell, Associate Programs Director, and Kate Poindexter, Communications Manager.

There was a tour, first, of St. Joseph's House (now called the White House) where the future saint housed 150 school children, designed a chapel, had a classroom, lived and eventually died.

The men on the Seton Route had the privilege to stay there overnight.

From there, the pilgrims were brought to the Basilica of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, where her tomb is located. Pilgrims had several minutes of private prayer and a chance to venerate her relics.

After that, they were given a quick overview of the iconographic plan and design of the Basilica.

Finally they were given a tour of the new St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Museum, which houses several original artifacts from various parts of her life, in three periods: the period seeking God prior to her conversion, the period after her conversion to the founding of her sisters to her death, and finally the period after her death leading to her 1975 canonization.

It was a not only a fitting introduction to the Shrine and capstone for the first 19 days of their journey, but a great preparation for the following day, which will begin with a Mass with Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore and feature two Eucharistric processions leaving from the Shrine. The Mass will take place at 8:30 am but will be broadcast at noon on EWTN and Salt and Light Television of Canada.

The day began where it had finished the day before, at St. Joseph's Church in Hanover, Pennsylvania, with Mass celebrated by pastor Msgr. James Lyons and preached by Father MIchael Rothan.

After Mass, pilgrims were treated to breakfast and prepared lunches as Father Rothan, a jack of all trades, helped pilgrims fix a brake light defect in their trailer.

On their way to their next stop, pilgrims stopped at the Gettyburg National Park to pray for all the fallen and impart a quiet Eucharistic Benediction.

From there, they headed to St. John the Evangelist Parish in Westminster, Maryland, where there were two hours of Eucharistic adoration before a scheduled procession at 5 pm. Pilgrims were amazed at the colored sawdust decorations throughout the property done by parishioners, supervised by Jorge Medrano. The decorations meandered throughout the extensive parish grounds all with Eucharistic imagery. The centerpiece of the extraordinary artistic display, which took two full days to do, was right before the entrance to the Church, where they put the logo for the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage.

The rest of the team at St. John's did extraordinary work. Teresa Richardson coordinated the entire day. Blanca Medrano and her team were responsible for the art and environment for the sanctuary, full of flowers, especially on front of the altar. Michael Gaffney directed the music full of members of the Archbishop Curley High School Choir. Fr. Leandro Fazolini, associate pastor, helped direct the Hispanic Community in building of the Eucharistic carpet for the procession. The seminarians from the Archdiocese of Baltimore and Knights of Columbus from various Councils assisted.

The original plan for the Eucharistic Procession was an extensive journey through Westminster, but a half-hour before it was scheduled to begin, the Westminster Police said that, because of torrential downpours, flooding on some streets, and the threat of lightening, the off-parish-campus portion of the procession would need tor be cancelled.

Pastor Mark Bielak made the decision to maintain and extend the procession on the grounds. He asked Seton chaplain Father Roger Landry to preach for 20 minutes until the rain would stop and he gave a talk on Eucharistic Processions, Eucharistic Revival and the Word Made Flesh. The procession, attended by nearly 400, was beautiful, prayerful and joyful despite light rain.

The parish livestreamed the procession.

After the procession, Father Bielak imparted Eucharistic Benediction inside the Church.

Then there was a huge feast in the Parish Portico. The parish published a photo album of the day which you can view here.

After the feast, pilgrims departed for Emmitsburg.

Here are photos from the day.


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