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Day 49 — Three Beautiful Processions, One Emmaus Walk

MADEIRA, OHIO, July 5 — The Seton Route of the National Eucharistic Procession had a very full day with two Masses, three processions and various periods of adoration, including part of a procession through strong rain and another into the sunset.


The day began with Votive Mass of the Holy Eucharist in a pqcked Church of St. Gertrude in Madeira, celebrated by Father John Paul Walker, OP, pastor of the parish, concelebrated by many Dominican priests, Seton chaplains Father Roger Landry and Father Joseph Michael Fino, CFR, and others.


Father Landry gave the homily in which he focused on the Gospel that had been chosen for the Votive Mass, Jesus' walk with the disciples on the Road to Emmaus the night of his resurrection. He noted that when the U.S. Bishops were looking for a theme and image to encapsulate what the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage was hoping to accomplish, they chose, "Our Emmaus Moment." This was not simply because the same risen Lord Jesus who accompanied the two disciples accompanies us and the pilgrim Church on earth on our journey through life in the Most Holy Eucharist, but because we're called to learn and relive at a deeper level the lessons of Emmaus.


Father Landry described how Cleopas and the other disciple were wandering away from Jerusalem and all it symbolized as the place of God seven miles downhill into dusk and darkness. They were scandalized and flummoxed by Jesus' crucifixion and confused by the rumors spread through some women that his body was not in the tomb and claiming that they had seem him arise. Jesus, whom they did not recognize in his risen appearance as he began to walk with them, gently upbraided them for their "slowness of heart" in believing all that Moses and the prophets had revealed about the Messiah. Their problem wasn't "slowness of mind," Landry said, but of "heart," because it was really that their hearts were broken, their false expectations shattered, their love and will weakened. Then Jesus began to make their hearts burn as he took them through all of the Old Testament prophecies that described that the Messiah had to suffer to enter into his glory, showing that Jesus' crucifixion was not a contradiction of the Messianic prophecies but a confirmation of them.


After the two disciples had begged Jesus, "Stay with us," as night descended, Jesus did and, without their knowing what he was doing, he celebrated Mass in their home, and they recognized him at the moment of consecration when the physical appearance of the anonymous Wayfarer disappeared as his sacramental appearance remained. That is the way the Lord desires to stay with us until the end of time. Having encountered him and presumably received him, they ran seven miles up hill in darkness to share immediately the good news of their encounter with the Risen Lord.


Father Landry said something similar is meant to happen with us in the Eucharistic Revival and the Christian life. Sometimes our expectations can be shattered. We would like the Lord to rule with power rather than preside with humility under the appearances of bread and wine. Many can drift away from God, downhill, into darkness. Our hearts can be slow to accept all that he has given. But Jesus wants to meet us and help teach us that his self-gift in the Holy Eucharist is the fulfillment of so many Old Testament, and even New Testament, prophecies and prophetic acts, from the Tree of LIfe, to the Sacrifices of Melchizedek and Isaac, and the Passover Lamb, of the Manna in the desert, of Elijah's hearth cakes, Gideon's "sword" and so many others. He wants to make our hearts burn, said Landry, that God loves us so much that not only did he take on our humanity, not only did he give his life for us on Calvary, but gives himself to us as our very food. He wants to make our hearts burn by allowing us to enter into communion with his own burning heart. He wants to stay with us in the Eucharist. And from a burning heart, he wants to make our lips and feet burn as we share with others the news that we have not only seen the Lord, but become one with him.


The Seton Route chaplain asked, however, whether our hearts are truly burning for Jesus' Eucharistic self-gift. In order to warm others' hearts, our heart must first burn with the Eucharistic fire of Jesus. He applied this to the four pillars of the Eucharistic Revival — Reinvigorating Worship, Encounter Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration, Robustly Passing On our Eucharistic Faith, and Mission, inviting others one-by-one, especially those in the margins, to come to Jesus in the Eucharist.


He concluded by saying that, as everyone was preparing to process with Jesus after Mass even though many in the world won't recognize him, we are all called to grasp how lucky we are to have the Lord journey with us. The Eucharistic Revival, he stated, is our "Emmaus moment" as we grasp for the first time or anew how Jesus accompanies us each day.


After Mass there was a Eucharistic procession to McDonald Common in Madeira with more that 500 people. At the park, there was Eucharistic benediction imparted on a huge soccer pitch.



From there, most of the pilgrims returned to St. Gertrude's. The National Eucharistic Pilgrims then continued their Emmaus walk with about 60 to the Oratory of St. John Vianney in Cincinnati. Half way through that pilgrimage the heavens opened and there were strong downpours, but pilgirms continued the journey.






Having arrived at the Oratory, which features one of the chairs of the Curé of Ars' kitchen, there was adoration, followed by Mass celebrated by Fr. Jamie Weber and lunch for the pilgrims.


After lunch and the use of a dryer to return their socks and clothes to normal, the pilgrims then processed to Pregnancy Help Plus, a center that assists pregnant women to choose life, where there were 15 minutes of adoration in the center's chapel followed by a prayer for the center by Father Landry and a Eucharistic Benediction by Father Joseph Michael.




After that pilgrims processed to the Church of St. Cecilia where there was a Eucharistic Holy Hour, followed by dinner and a beautiful twilight Eucharistic Procession to the Church of St. Mary in Hyde Park.


The enormous Church of St. Cecilia was packed for the Eucharistic holy hour with many young families. During the Holy Hour, pilgrims Zoe Dongas and Amayrani Higueldo both gave testimonies of their Eucharistic conversions and about what some of the moving encounters they have had during the first 49 days of the Eucharistic journey.


The hour-long Eucharistic procession to St. Mary's began about 8:40 pm and was possible only because Cincinnati is in the far western end of the eastern time zone. More than 500 people, including many children and a dozen priests, participated in the procession. At St. Mary's, there was Eucharistic benediction to cap the Emmaus walk of the day.




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