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Day 31 — Pilgrimage through Beaver County

BEAVER FALLS, PENNSYLVANIA, June 17 — The Seton Route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, after a few lighter days, returned to its fundamental purpose of walking with Jesus from New Haven to Indianapolis with a 17-mile pilgrimage through Beaver County along the Ohio River west of Pittsburgh.


The day began with a Mass celebrated by Pittsburgh auxiliary Bishop William Waltersheid at St. Blaise Church at 7 am. St. Blaise is part of the multi-church parish of St. Augustine. Father Roger Landry, chaplain to the Seton Route, preached the homily.


Basing himself on Jesus' words from the Sermon of the Mount that constituted the Gospel passage for Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time, Father Landry said that the Eucharistic Revival is ultimately about conforming us to the Eucharistic Jesus and cultivating the "spirituality of the second mile," the willingness, like Jesus, to be a self-giver rather than a retaliator, victim, or selfish individual.


In communion with the Eucharistic Jesus, he said, we get the strength to turn the other cheek, to give to those who ask, to surrender our cloak (winter jacket) and not just our tunic (shirt), even to love our enemies and pray for those who hate us.


Jesus' words from his Good Shepherd discourse, "No one takes my life from me; I freely lay it down" (Jn 10:18), Father Landry stated, summarize this Eucharistic form of life, as we seek to make our lives a "commentary on the words of consecration" and seek to give our body, blood, sweat, tears, callouses, money, time, cloak, and left cheek out of love for others.


He said that the lengthy pilgrimage that many in the full church of St. Blaise would be making that day was a time to cultivate the essential spirituality of the Eucharistic Revival, which Father Landry said can be taken from St. Thomas Aquinas' words from his Lauda Sion Corpus Christi sequence, "Quantum potes, tantum aude," to "dare to do all you can," to go the second mile, and the third, and the fifteenth out of love for him who not only came from heaven to take on our nature but goes so far as to become our spiritual food.


After Mass, pilgrims began an eight-hour, 17-mile procession through Beaver County, from Saint Blaise Church in Midland to Saint Monica Academy in Beaver Falls. There were several stops along the way, where new priests and pilgrims joined us and some pilgrims got on buses to return to their place of origin.


A poster showing the Route taken by the procession.


The day's pilgrimage was the most grueling of the Seton Route until now as it was done in temperatures that soared to 95 degrees and was done in blazing sunshine.


Several parishes formally participated: St. Augustine, St. Luke, Divine Grace, Our Lady of Victory, and Mary Queen of Saints, and various priests carried the Lord throughout the day: Father John Naugle, Father Joseph Carr, Father Joseph Freedey, Father Celestine Xu, and Seton Chaplains Father Roger Landry and Father Seraphim Baalbaaki, CFR. The procession was coordinated by St. Augustine Parish pastor Father Kim Schreck.





After Eucharistic Benediction at St. Monica's Academy by Father Landry, pilgrims boarded their specially designed National Eucharistic Pilgrimage support van and adored the Lord as they traveled through torrential rains and thunder and lightning to St. Vitus Church of Holy Spirit Parish in New Castle where there was a Eucharistic Holy Hour leading into all night adoration. Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh was present and heard confessions with several priests.


After the Holy Hour, the parish had a reception for pilgrims in the parish gymnasium, in which pilgrims introduced themselves and had a photograph with Bishop Zubik and parish and diocesan pilgrimage leaders.


Afterward, pilgims were brought to where they were receiving hospitality for the night. The priests, religious brother and lay men recuperated from the journey by watching the Boston Celtics crush the Dallas Mavericks for the NBA Championship, something that brought great joy to Seton Chaplain Father Roger Landry, a Massachusetts native and lifelong Celtics fan.







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