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Local dioceses organize events for national pilgrimages | News, sports, jobs


PILGRIMAGE – National Eucharistic Pilgrim Vans, like the one pictured, will support pilgrims making the journey on four U.S. routes, all converging in Indianapolis. Together the routes cover approximately 6,500 miles. — Contributed

The Catholic Dioceses of Steubenville and Wheeling-Charleston will host events around a nationwide religious pilgrimage designed to spread devotion to a fundamental principle of the Catholic faith.

Billed as “one of the largest Eucharistic pilgrimages in history”, the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage consists of four routes, starting at four points in the US: Mississippi Headwater, Lake Itasca, Minnesota; New Haven, Conn.; Brownsville, Texas, and San Francisco, California. All routes converge in Indianapolis and together cover approximately 6,500 miles.

Small groups of young adults, guided by clergy and ordained individuals, will complete the entire journey to Indianapolis on foot over 60 days. The pilgrims and their support vans embarked on May 17 and will arrive in Indiana on July 16.

At the heart of the pilgrimage is the desire to honor and publicly witness the Eucharist, which Catholics believe is the “body, blood, soul and divinity” of Jesus Christ, present under the appearance of bread and wine. Pilgrims travel with the Eucharist at all times.

Following the completion of the pilgrimage in Indianapolis, the National Eucharistic Congress will take place from July 17 to 21 at Lucas Oil Stadium. The first U.S. Congress in 83 years is a celebration of the Eucharist and the Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence, which holds that Jesus is substantially present in the Eucharist, not just as a symbol or metaphor.

The pilgrimage and congress grow out of the National Eucharistic Revival, a eucharistic devotional movement in the US started in 2022 by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Pilgrims will travel through multiple states, with local communities hosting events and providing shelter. Individuals who live near one of the trails are invited to participate in one “Eucharistic caravan” while the pilgrims pass by. More than 100,000 people are expected to participate.

Named after the first American-born Catholic saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton, the route starting in New Haven will follow the Atlantic coast before entering Maryland and Pennsylvania, passing through West Virginia and then through Ohio to Indiana. The pilgrims include two priests, a monk, a seminarian and five lay pilgrims, including Franciscan University of Steubenville alumna Natalie Garza.

As the pilgrimage passes through the dioceses of Wheeling-Charleston and Steubenville between Thursday and June 24, a number of events are planned.

Deacon Randy and Mary Ellen Redington are part of the planning team for the Diocese of Steubenville. The two lead a group of 32 committee members “conceived and initiated” the diocese’s various events during the pilgrimage, Randy Redington said.

“It is intended to rekindle our appreciation for the real presence of Jesus – body, blood, soul and divinity – in the Eucharist,” Redington said of the pilgrimage. “The bishops are trying to make us all aware of what we really believe.”

Pilgrims will be received at 8 a.m. Thursday at St. Joseph the Worker Church in Weirton for a meet-and-greet, Eucharistic adoration and praise and adoration. A Eucharist procession will travel to the Church of the Sacred Heart of Mary at 9:30 am for blessing and adoration, followed by a session and reflection by the pilgrims at 11 am. Worship at St. Paul’s Church closes for the day at 7 p.m

The Mass will take place at 8:30 a.m. Friday at the Sacred Heart of Mary, followed by breakfast at 9:30 a.m. Later, the pilgrims travel to the Louis Berkman Amphitheater in Steubenville and are welcomed with a “Singing spiral” music event, starting at 6 p.m. A procession down Fourth Street at 7:00 PM will arrive at St. Peter Church for payer and benediction at 7:30 PM.

While in town, Redington said, pilgrims will help with service projects. In addition, the Franciscan University will host conferences on Friday and Saturday entitled My Body Give for You, with free registration.

On Saturday, Holy Family Church will host a holy hour with an address by pilgrim Rev. Roger Landry at 6 p.m., followed by a potluck dinner, family activities and social gathering at 7 p.m. Visitors must register at the church and bring a side dish.

Sunday begins at 10 a.m. with a Mass at Triumph of the Cross Parish. At 11 a.m. a convoy will leave for the Steubenville marina, where a ‘Throwing into the depths’ the joint diocesan boat trip departs at 12 noon.

The boat tour is guided by the public in boats down the Ohio River and is led by a historic sternwheeler donated by Captain Bob Harrison in memory of his wife Julia. From aboard, Wheeling-Charleston Bishop Mark Brennan will provide Eucharistic blessings to individuals gathered ashore between noon and 4 p.m. at specific locations: the Steubenville Marina, Wellsburg Wharf, Wellsburg-Brilliant Bridge, Mazeroski Park, Pike Island Locks and Dam and Heritage Haven. Individuals must listen to hear a bell.

From 4 to 7 p.m. there will be a walking procession, prayer service, dinner and socializing at Bellaire’s St. John the Evangelist Church, followed by a motorcade to a wake at Wheeling’s St. Joseph Cathedral. Pilgrims depart from St. Alphonsus Church on June 24 after breakfast and fellowship.

Events are made possible through collaboration with many individuals, as well as city and county officials, Mary Ellen Redington said. The public is invited to all events.

Those unable to attend the events in person can listen live on WWGL-FM, WDWC-FM or www.rdo.to/WLOL Friday from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM and June 23 from 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM. personal participation could lead to Catholics receiving a plenary indulgence, provided the church’s other criteria are met, Randy Redington said.

“Let us take this opportunity to strengthen our true faith and love for the real presence of the Lord,” he said.

Information about the pilgrimage and events can be found at eucharisticpilgrimage.org, dwc.org and diosteub.org.



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