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Day 28 — Adoring the Lord at St. Bernard's in Mount Lebanon

MOUNT LEBANON, PENNSYLVANIA, June 14 — The Seton Route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage had a day of Mass, pilgrimage, lengthy adoration, vespers and witness testimonies as it concluded its fourth full week on the road with the Eucharistic Jesus.

The day began with Mass at St. Catherine of Siena Church, part of St. Teresa of Kolkata Parish, in the Beechview-Brookline borough of Pittsburgh. The Mass was celebrated by pastor Father James Bachner and Seton pilgrim chaplain Father Joseph Mary Deane, CFR preached. St. Catherine of Siena Church was filled with several hundred faithful.

In his homily, Father Joseph Mary, basing himself on the first reading of the Mass in which God revealed himself to the Prophet Elijah not in hurricanes, earthquakes or big fires, but in the whisper of a gentle breeze, spoke about the importance and the how-to of quiet prayer before the Lord Jesus in Eucharistic adoration.

After Mass, there was a Eucharistic procession between St. Catherine of Siena Church and St. Bernard Church, part of St. Michael the Archangel Parish, in Mount Lebanon. During the procession, Father Bachner carried the Lord half-way and then St. Michael's pastor, Father Brian Welding, carried Jesus to and into St. Bernard's Church. During the procession, the choir of St. Michael's Parish sang and, upon arrival at the majestic St. Bernard's Church, the King of Kings, in his humble Eucharistic appearances, was welcomed by the full power of St. Bernard's 1961 Casavant Freres organ.

During a short prayer service to open up several hours of adoration, Father Welding welcomed Jesus and the Seton Route National Eucharistic Pilgrims accompanying him throughout the Diocese of Pittsburgh toward Indianapolis.

During the prayer service, Father Joseph Mary gave a reflection based on Saint Francis of Assisi's approach to Eucharistic adoration. St. Francis, he said, had a profound love for the Incarnation of the Lord, and recognized that the incarnation continues until the end of time in the Sacrament of the Altar. For that reason, St. Francis, and the Franciscans after him, have prioritized spending time with Jesus in Eucharistic adoration.

Father Joseph Mary said that, during adoration, we should give Jesus what he most wants, those parts of us most in need of healing, our sins, especially our sins, which he came into the world to take away. He encouraged us to trust in Jesus' mercy.

There was a period of six hours of quiet adoration until 5:30 pm, when there was the Akathist Hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary, sung by the members of Holy Trinity Ukranian Catholic Parish of Carnegie Pennsylvania. followed by a reflection on the Blessed Virgin Mary by pastor Father Jason Charron, who encouraged everyone to be bold in their petitions to Our Lady.

At 6:30, there was a Solemn Vespers Service of the Most Holy Eucharistic within a very full St. Bernard's Church presided over by Father Welding. Bishop William Waltersheid, auxiliary bishop of Pittsburgh, was present. The renowned choir of St. Michael the Archangel Parish, led by music director Chaz Bowers, sang. Seton Route chaplain Father Roger Landry preached.

In his homily, based on the 1 Cor 11:23-26, Father Landry talked about Jesus' words, "Do this in remembrance of me," and how, in the Jewish and Christian understanding, memory is not merely a thing of the mind, but something that brings the past into the present. That's what happens when we "do this [celebrate Mass] in memory of me {Jesus]," we make present what Jesus himself eternally did from the Upper Room and from Calvary as he gave his Body and Blood for us and our salvation.

Father Landry spoke about the wisdom of the ancient desert fathers regarding "anamnesis" or unforgetting and said that the National Eucharistic Revival is meant to help the Church in the U.S. first, and then everyone, "unforget" that God-with-us is still with us in the most Blessed Sacrament. He focused on how the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, the National Eucharistic Congress, and the four pillars of the parish phase of the Revival (Mass, adoration, teaching our Eucharistic faith, and the mission of inviting others to come to the Eucharistic Jesus) are all meant to help reawaken a living awareness of Jesus in the midst of the daily life.

After the Vespers, there was a reception in the parish's Clairvaux Hall, during which the Seton Route Pilgrims introduced themselves and two of them — Pittsburgh seminarian Christoph Bernas, and Seton Route team lead Natalie Garza — gave inspiring witness statements.

[To view the Vespers, visit the website of St. Michael the Archangel Parish, scroll down on the left side home page to "Related Videos" and find the June 14 "Solemn Vespers - Eucharistic Revival Pilgrimage" link. We are trying to get a direct link to facilitate viewing.]


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