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Editorial: Poignant scenes highlight pilgrimage; still time to sign up for NEC

The Criterion (Original editorial HERE)

Official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis

June 7, 2024

Father Roger Landry has already seen how the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage has touched lives.

And he expects more people to be moved as he continues taking part in the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Route, which left New Haven, Conn., on May 18, and continues on its journey toward Indianapolis. It will arrive here a few days before the National Eucharistic Congress (NEC), which will take place on July 17-21.

Father Landry last week spoke to John Lavenburg, a correspondent for Crux, a national Catholic news site, and shared how when passing through the Bronx borough of New York City carrying the monstrance, he witnessed an older woman insist on getting out of her wheelchair to kneel before Jesus.

“It was already an effort just to come out and greet him, but that type of heroism—it was a part of the conversation I had with Jesus for the next 10 minutes as I was holding him in my hand,” said Father Landry, who serves as the chaplain of the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Route.

The priest noted in the interview that he has been moved by people like the older woman and others in wheelchairs who have come out to support, and even join, in the pilgrimage when it passes by. He also said he was moved on multiple occasions to see people stop their vehicles—bringing traffic to a standstill—to get out and kneel on the asphalt until the Blessed Sacrament passed.

He added the gratitude held by the people they encounter on the route is “palpable.” Father Landry, who is a priest of the Diocese of Fall River, Mass., and the chaplain of Columbia University in New York City, said he feels truly blessed taking part in this pilgrimage of faith.

“And just to be able to behold it, and experience it, and not just once over 65 days,” he said, “but honestly several times a day reinforces that I am the luckiest priest in America being able to experience all 65 days because I really am seeing firsthand the gratitude that people have for the Lord Jesus in the holy Eucharist, and the love that they give back for the love that he gives.”

While Landry shared how powerful his experience has been, we believe pilgrims on the Marian Route (which started in northern Minnesota), the St. Juan Diego Route (which began in Brownsville, Texas) and the St. Junipero Serra Route (which commenced in San Francisco) are experiencing much of the same.

The pilgrimage is an effort to bless all of America. As reported by OSV News, from these four directions the pilgrimage routes are tracing what organizers call “a sign of the cross over the nation,” as pilgrims traverse a combined 6,500 miles across 27 states and 65 dioceses, through small towns, large cities and rural countryside—often on foot, always with the Eucharist—until they visit many parts of the Church in central and southern Indiana and converge in Indianapolis for the NEC.

We have learned individuals from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis have joined some of the pilgrimage routes, and we hope to share in a future issue of The Criterion how they’ve been impacted by this once-in-a-lifetime journey of faith.

We have also planted seeds for several months now about the NEC, and are approaching the final weeks of preparation for the five-day event.

Tens of thousands of Catholics from throughout the U.S. are expected to attend, and as members of the 126 parishes that make up the Church in central and southern Indiana, each of you is invited. We believe it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should span the generations who make up our family of faith.

It is not too late to sign up for the event.

As the host archdiocese, we have been provided with a discount code—Indy24—which reduces the cost of individual five-day passes from $375 to $274. This discount code will only work on individual five-day passes purchased in the amount of 1-14.

There are also single-day and weekend passes available. A weekend pass (for Saturday and Sunday) is available for $125, and day passes are available for $49-$95. Kids ages 12 and younger are free.

All passes can be purchased at

Registrants will receive credentials that provide admission to general sessions, but there is no assigned seating or group seating at the NEC.

Even if you are not planning to attend the congress, we encourage everyone to take part in a eucharistic procession from 3-5 p.m. on July 20 that will fill the streets of downtown Indianapolis, offering a powerful witness of faith by the thousands who will take part. It will offer a chance for us to radiate Jesus to our neighbors of all faith traditions, allowing them to see firsthand how much we love Christ’s presence in the Eucharist.

Please, Lord, may our witness bear fruit.


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