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Halftime Report from Pilgrim Marina Frattaroli: A Big Time of Personal Growth

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 Marina Frattaroli about her thoughts on the pilgrimage until now.


Marina, what have been the highlights of the Pilgrimage over the first four weeks?

One of the highlights for me was going to New York City. It was really an honor to be brought inside the sanctuary [in the chancel pews] of St. Patrick's Cathedral for Mass with Cardinal Dolan.

It's also been a highlight to get to know several of the bishops, to see their involvement in their Dioceses and their own heart for the mission of the Revival. That's been a consistent highlight as we've gone from diocese to diocese.

So has meeting the people along along the way, to see the faith of so many throughout the country has been such a blessing. To see the amazing groundwork that the Revival has already accomplished in the people in the parishes. Every parish we've gone to has been a success, I would say. That's been a big encouragement.

How have you grown over the course of the first half?

It's been a big time of growth for me. I've gotten to spend a lot of time with Jesus in the Eucharist and have had a lot of opportunity to think about the gift that is the Eucharist and how it's such a deep well of life that Jesus himself wants to give to us.

One of the reasons why I set out on this pilgrimage was to pray for healing in the country and for the Catholic Church in America. I think I've seen people receive joy and encouragement and hope through what has been happening, and so it's been beautiful to see that healing occur on the individual level with the people I encounter. Also in myself, I've gained a lot of hope. And I think I've learned a lot more about how God wants to love me.

Have you been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of time you've had in the presence of Jesus?

Definitely it has been overwhelming! I've had to learn persistence in prayer. In the first couple of days, my limits were kind of reached with what I had been used to or what I had done before. So I've definitely learned new ways of encountering Jesus in the Eucharist, ways of resting in his presence, as well as kicking myself into gear and praying hard even when I'm tired. It is a real gift of the pilgrimage to be able to give so much of yourself to God physically and in terms of your energy.

Have there been any surprises on the pilgrimage compared to what you were expecting?

One of the surprises has been just how different the legs have been diocese by diocese. It is cool to know that it's really organized by the local dioceses, with the input of their bishops. For them to have their own vision of how they want revival is edifying because then the pilgrimage can contribute to the revival in their own area. I didn't know we were going to have different tones in every place.

I loved walking every step of the way through the Archdiocese of New York. But then I'm glad we did a big drive from Washington, DC to the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. It's been beautiful and enriching to see so many absolutely different places with different people with different qualities.

You've now been a Catholic for 19 months. What has this pilgrimage helped you to learn about the Eucharistic dimension of Christian life? What you would say to the Marina Frattaroli of a couple of years ago?

I would say, "You know that Jesus is good. You know that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. The Eucharist is just going to add a whole other very rich and intimate dimension to understanding how He is the Way, how he is the Truth, how he is the Life and how he's trying to give you life through him. So get ready, it's going to be an adventure!"

Have you had any particular challenges along the way?

There have been challenges along the way, even in preparing for the pilgrimage. There's been sacrifice involved to create this time in the schedule. Recently I've been going barefoot more often than not because all the walking has created some friction and resulted in blisters on my feet. Maybe there's a little penance involved with with the feet while walking but it's been good. Every step is a privilege. I'm happy to be able to do it.

While you've been on pilgrimage, you have likewise been studying for the bar. How have your studies been going?

I have been studying, though not at the recommended rate, but a pilgrimage rate. I am still learning some civil procedure stuff. I will be praying that God's will be done on the exam days!

Any final words at the midway point?

What's happening is really exciting. It's beautiful to see places come alive as the Eucharist passes through and the positivity with which onlookers who don't even know what's going on receive the pilgrimage.

If you're reading please pray for the Revival. Please pray for the Pilgrimage. And please consider joining if it's headed your way!


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