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Halftime Report from Pilgrim Christoph Bernas: Stirring into a Flame a Desire to Bring the Eucharistic Jesus to Others

MOUNT LEBANON, PENNSYLVANIA, June 15 — The Seton Route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage is about to reach the midway point of its 65-day journey from New Haven, Connecticut to Indianapolis, Indiana for the July 17-21 National Eucharistic Congress.

During a half-day on the road, the blog interviewed seminarian Christoph Bernas about his thoughts on the pilgrimage until now.


What had been the highlights so far of the first 29 days of the pilgrimage?

I'm definitely getting to meet and interact with all the different people who are really excited to have Jesus pass through their town, their diocese, or just anywhere remotely close to them.

One memory is from the Diocese of Harrisburg. We passed through just a little corner of it, and I was really impressed with how many people came out and were excited to process with Jesus for a long journey in the small town and villages and out in the country

Another is from Loretto, Pennsylvania, where we had about 700 people come out to spend the night with Jesus. It was really beautiful.

A third is when we went back to my home parish, St. Bernard's. It was moving to come back to my home community and worship the Lord with them.

How did you find out about the Pilgrimage? And how eager were you to join it?

My mom told me about it. I had always wanted to do a big pilgrimage like the Camino. So I was really interested in doing participating in the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage. It was a little challenge to apply, because I'm a seminarian, and so I had to go through extra steps, but it was definitely worth it!

Compared to what your expectations were prior to the pilgrimage, has anything surprised you in the first four weeks?

Definitely I'm surprised by how much we're doing. I thought that there would be a little bit more rest time and solitary time. For me, it's like we're doing several parish missions every day. It is a really beautiful experience getting to accompany people in their encounter with the Lord, but it also leaves us a little bit tired at the end of the day. The Lord, however, provides us the energy we need.

How has this pilgrimage reinforced what you've learned so far in your seminary studies, about God and about yourself?

It's definitely confirmed a lot my desire to participate in priestly ministry. I've had a lot of encounters with the beauty of the priesthood, and the desire in my heart to be able to serve in that way continues to blaze up within me. I'm looking forward to getting back into seminary at the end of the year to keep working towards that goal.

What's it been like to finish the first half of the pilgrimage in your hometown?

It was really powerful to make a make a return home with the Lord in his caravan. The people here are those whom I feel called to serve and to love in the deepest way possible. And so it was a really profound experience for me to process with the Lord through the communities that I know and love. Because these again are the people that I specifically feel called to serve.

What are you most looking forward to in the second half of the journey?

Going to all places I've never been, meeting people I've never met, and helping them to encounter the Lord as well.

Anything else you want to share?

If you're reading this, I urge you take the time, go deeper with the Lord. He's waiting in the tabernacle for you!


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