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Day 21 — In the Footsteps of the Saints in Baltimore

BALTIMORE, June 7 — As the Seton Route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage finished its third week, it followed the footsteps of several saints, blesseds and servants of God in what was once the see city and only diocese for the then entire United States.

Pilgrims were able to visit the house in which the patroness of their route, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, lived from 1808 to 1809. Likewise, they were able to visit the original chapel of Saint Mary’s Seminary on Paca Street, where St. Elizabeth Ann Seton made her first vows as a Sister of Charity of St. Joseph, where Blessed Fr. Michael McGivney was ordained a priest, and where the Venerable Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange taught catechism to generations of students. Likewise they were able to visit the Church of Old Saint Alphonsus, where St. John Neumann and Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos both ministered.

The day began at what is liturgically the most prestigious church in the United States, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption in Baltimore, which, when it was built, was the cathedral for the United States of America.

Bishop Bruce Lewandowski celebrated the Mass before a packed Baislica, together with ten concelebrartring bishops. Bishop Lewandowski preached, on the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, about our receptivity to God‘s action in our life: his mercy, his Eucharistic love, and all the many other blessings and graces that he gives us. Using the analogy of paper cup, he said if we fill it with toxic liquids, it will break down, but if we fill it with freshwater, like the living water that flows from Jesus' side, we can retain it and be refreshed by it into eternity.

At the end of Mass, Bishop Lewandowski led a Eucharistic procession of several hundred people to Old Saint Alphonsus Church, a few blocks from the Basilica. There they were greeted with an extraordinary outdoor altar, on the steps of the front of the church, preceded by a carpet of rose petals thrown by girls.

Video from St. Alphonsus Church (video begins at 24:00)

After the Bishop imparted Benediction, the pilgrims and all those journeying with them in the Eucharistic procession, went next to the Shrine of Saint Jude, where they received another benediction.

The final stop on the morning procession was the old St. Mary's seminary, where adoration, hymns and benediction all took place, before most of those in attendance dispersed. Perpetual pilgrims were given a quick tour of St. Elizabeth Seton's house (1808-1809), which has been preserved pretty much intact by the Sulpicians, as well as St. Mary's Chapel and the lower Church associated with Seton's vows, McGivney's ordination and Lange's educational works.

During lunch time the Seton Pilgrims went to Our Daily Bread soup kitchen, run by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, where they both served lunch and ate with the several hundred who came there for a daily meal. The Our Daily Bread apostolate has been serving meals continuously since 1981.

From Our Daily Bread an afternoon Eucharistic Procession began.

About 100 pilgrims processed to St. Francis Academy, which continues Venerable Mother Lange's educational legacy. After a short period of adoration, a benediction was given in its garden.

Next the Eucharistic procession journeyed to the historic church of Saint Francis Xavier for another benediction. The parish first began been serving Haitian refugees two centuries ago and eventually became the first parish exclusively for Black Catholics in the United States.

Afterward, there was a lengthy journey to the church of Saint Wenceslaus amidst very strong cross winds. In the convent of the parish the Missionaries of Charity have their Gift of Hope home. The spiritual daughters of St. Teresa of Calcutta set up a stational altar before their gift of Hope Convent.

Next the pilgrims journeyed to the campus of John Hopkins University, where in the famous rotunda of its medical school, the Eucharistic Jesus visited the statue of Christ the Healer. Led by Father Michael DeAscanis, pilgrims prayed for all patients in need of healing, all medical students and all doctors, that they would protect life, do no harm, and promote the dignity of every patient.

Pilgrims then made three the final stops of their lengthy afternoon journey.

The first was the church of Saint Patrick, where there was another benediction outside the front door; the second was Saint Michael Ukrainian Catholic Church, and the final stop was Patterson Park. There, before its famous gazebo, an altar of repose was set up. After several minutes of adoration, the final benediction of the day was given by Father Roger Landry, chaplain tor the Seton Route.

A celebration followed the benediction in the park. Pilgrims brought the monstrance containing the Eucharistic Jesus with bells and canopy to their support van, with which they drove to Washington DC.

Having arrived at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on the campus of the Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington DC, the Lord Jesus was brought to the exquisite Blessed Sacrament chapel of the Upper Church of the Basilica and reposed for the night.

Then pilgrims, settled in to their rooms at CUA.


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