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Day 30 — A Eucharistic Pilgrimage by Faith Not By Sight

BEAVER FALLS, PENNSYLVANIA, June 16 — As the Seton Route National Eucharistic Pilgrims got within one month of their expected arrival in Indianapolis, the day before the tenth National Eucharistic Congress begins, they began the day with Sunday Mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul in Pittsburgh, the location of the fourth National Eucharistic Congress (October 13-15, 1907).

Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh began Mass by welcoming the National Eucharistic PIlgrims, expressing his particular pride in one of the perpetual pilgrims, Pittsburgh seminarian Christoph Bernas, and thanking Bishop William Waltersheid, who is heading the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage efforts for the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

At the beginning of his homily, Bishop Zubik thanked the Pilgrims again and asked them all to stand to be acknowledged by the multitude of close to 1,000 people in the full Cathedral.

(The homily begins at 26:06).

During his homily for the Mass, Bishop Zubik focused on St. Paul's words that we walk by faith, not by sight, and how the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage is meant to be a journey of faith in the Eucharistic Lord. We are tempted, he said, to get caught up in the wisdom of the world, seeking after power, prestige and popularity but it's key for us in this Eucharistic pilgrimage not go it alone or forget the power that is given to us in the Holy Eucharist. "That's the challenge that God through Paul gives us as pilgrims in Pittsburgh."

After Mass, Bishop Zubik hosted the pilgrims for a luncheon in the Cathedral basement. He was joined by Bishop Waltersheid, Bishop Mark Eckman, St. Paul's rector Father Kris Stubna, and other members of the diocesan staff.

After the luncheon, pilgrims journeyed adoring Jesus in the Pilgrimage support van to St. Monica's Parish in Beaver Falls, where they were welcomed by pastor Father Kim Shreck for a Eucharistic Holy Hour, presided by Bishop Waltersheid and where new Seton Route chaplain (for the fifth week) Father Seraphim Baalbaaki, CFR, preached to a full Church.

In his homily, Father Seraphim stressed that the Eucharist is the greatest gift that God has given, and could have given, to the church, and it is not something that he came up with after Christ came. Rather, it's something that God had in the mind from the beginning. He created our nature to eat. Food is essential to our to staying alive, he said. In the Garden of Eden, when God created Adam and Eve, the first command he gave them was to eat of any tree of the garden except for one. The tree of life was the way God communicated his divine life to Adam and Eve. The way that we receive life is through eating. God clearly had the Eucharist in mind as the way that he would fulfill our capacity to be intimate with Him and to receive life from him. The Eucharist, however, is not just a piece of fruit on the tree of life, but it's the fullness of God Himself who wants to be intimate with us and who comes and dwells within us through our receiving of the Eucharist.

Father Seraphim likewise spoke about the Eucharist's healing power. Jesus is the divine healer who came into the world because he wants to heal us. Throughout Scripture, we see him healing people of all different sorts of physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological maladies and Jesus wants to continue to do that now. Father Seraphim said that he himself was healed of two years worth of panic attacks through receiving the Eucharist. The Lord, he said, wants to heal us through the reception of the Blessed Sacrament every time we receive him. It may not always be the healing we want, but it's always the healing that he knows we need. In the end, it's not a question of if he will heal us, but of when, whether now, in a few years, or in that final healing which, will pray will be our entrance into heaven. We should approach him with faith and so that we can receive all the the healing and the grace that He wants for us in this life.

After the Holy Hour, there was food festival in the packed gymnasium of the school with several dozens of people likewise eating outside.

The National Eucharistic Pilgrims, Bishop Waltersheid, Father Shreck and many of those in attendance were all speaking about, and getting ready for, the 15-mile seven-site Eucharistic pilgrimage tomorrow in what is expected to be 95-degree heat.


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