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Day 42 — Bringing Jesus to Prisoners and Seniors

NORTH PICKERINGTON, OHIO, June 28 — The Seton Pilgrims of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage had a very moving day that involved bringing the Lord Jesus in the Holy Eucharist to a prison, to a nursing home, and to an event for young adults.

The day began very early at Pickaway Correctional In Orient, Ohio, where, after passing through security, there was a Eucharistic Holy Hour with the inmates and staff during which confessions were offered by Columbus Bishop Earl Fernandes and Seton Route chaplains Father Roger Landry and Father Justin Alarcón, CFR. There were also witness talks given by Pilgrims Natalie Garza and Dominic Carstens.

After adoration, there was a Mass celebrated by Bishop Earl Fernandes, who in his homily, based on the readings of the day, he talked about the exile of the Jews in Babylon as well as the exile of the leper in the Gospel from community as experiences from which we can all understand not just sin but any time we are separated from the people and things we love. But the Lord is with us in those circumstances, the bishop said, to give us hope, consolation and the treasure of his presence.

After Mass, there was a small Eucharistic procession within the grounds of the prison, followed by a breakfast with donuts and coffee in which not one morsel was left over.

After lunch with Bishop Fernandes and Columbus diocesan leaders in the undercroft of St. Joseph Cathedral in Columbus, pilgrims went to Mother Angeline McCrory Manor, a nursing home and assisted living community in Columbus run by the Carmelite Sisters of the Aged and Infirm. There was a Eucharistic procession with hymns throughout the manor followed by a Eucharistic Holy Hour in the Manor's chapel.

During the Holy Hour, Father Landry gave a homily on the Gospel of the Presentation and what all people, especially seniors, can learn from Saints Simeon and Anna in the temple about how to long for the Lord, how to embrace him and be embraced by him, and how to speak about him and share him with others.

Pilgrim Dominic Carstens likewise gave a testimony about how he grew in Eucharistic apprerciation through his now 97-year-old grandfather.

During the Holy Hour, Father Landry brought the Blessed Sacrament to each resident so that they would be able to have the experience of Simeon and Anna in holding the Lord Jesus and asking him whatever prayers they had.

After Father Landry imparted Eucharistic Benediction, pilgrims journeyed in procession to St. Charles Preparatory Academy, where there was an event organized for young adults. Prior to Mass, Father Landry gave a talk on St. Ireneus' famous saying that the "Glory of God is Man Fully Alive," underlining that we become fully alive and most glorify God though a Eucharistic life.

June 28 is the liturgical memorial of St. Ireneus, a second-century Bishop of Lyons, Doctor of the Church and Martyr.

Bishop Earl Fernandes then celebrated Mass for the Vigil of the Solemnity of SS. Peter and Paul in which he preached on what we can learn from the two great pillars of the Church in how to approach Jesus with love and love others.

After Mass, pilgrims traveled again to St. Joseph Cathedral, where there was a gathering at he Museum of Catholic Art and History. After hors d'ouevres with young adults, pilgrims were able to visit the museum. In its relic collection, pilgrims prayed for several minutes with the relic of St. Pascal Baylon, the patron saint of Eucharistic Congresses, for the success of the upcoming tenth National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis.


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