HomeUSWhere are the pilgrims now? National Eucharistic Pilgrimage makes its way to Indianapolis

Where are the pilgrims now? National Eucharistic Pilgrimage makes its way to Indianapolis

McCullough echoed Velasco in observing that the enthusiastic participation of so many Catholics in the pilgrimage experience has dispelled any notion that the Catholic Church is a “dying church.”

“My time on pilgrimage has shown me that that’s kind of ridiculous, honestly. We are, as young people, inheriting a beautiful Church,” McCullough said. 

“There’s so many people that are my age that are so excited about the pilgrimage, that come to walk with us, that have a great zeal, that are eager to be with Our Lord and to honor Our Lord and to let him change their lives.” 

Mentioning further highlights, Elm said the Juan Diego Route recently completed a procession around a battlefield, praying for the souls of those who died there. In Atlanta, the pilgrims received a massive reception at Our Lady of Vietnam Catholic Church, which featured an authentic Vietnamese dinner afterward and even, to their surprise, a round of karaoke. 

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The Juan Diego Route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage makes its way into Our Lady of Vietnam Catholic Church in Atlanta. Credit: Issy Martin-Dye

The Juan Diego pilgrims also spoke fondly of a retreat they made at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama. The shrine serves as the chapel for the cloistered Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, which houses the Poor Clare Nuns of Perpetual Adoration. Elm said it was a powerful experience to enter the cloister and meet the sisters. 

“I will never forget the way they all looked distinct, but they all looked like Jesus,” Elm recalled. 

“Their faces were shining, like the Eucharist. And I said that to a few of them. I was like, ‘You all look like Jesus. You look like the Eucharist.’ And it’s because they just spend so much face time with the Eucharist that they’ve become like him.”

Hundreds of faithful filled the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, site of Mother Angelica’s tomb, beyond capacity as the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage St. Juan Diego Route passed through on June 20, 2024. Credit: EWTN

In Atlanta, the route stopped at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, a historically Black Catholic church just down the street from several sites associated with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., including the church where he preached and that houses his grave. Now that the route is in the Nashville area, McCullough and Elm said they are excited to pay a visit to the Nashville Dominicans — a vibrant order of sisters — and also take some downtime to enjoy the Nashville music scene. 

The northern Marian Route, which began in Minnesota, wrapped up its time in Wisconsin with a tremendous 50 stops in the Milwaukee area alone. Meanwhile, the eastern Seton Route celebrated their chaplain Father Roger Landry, the only priest committed to walking the entirety of a route, who marked 25 years as a priest while on pilgrimage.

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The Seton Route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage makes its way by boat between Ohio and West Virginia. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno

Catholics throughout the U.S. are encouraged to register to join the pilgrims in walking short sections of the pilgrimages and joining in numerous other special events put on by their local dioceses. To read ongoing coverage about the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage and National Eucharistic Congress, visit the National Catholic Register.

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