Map of the four routes that will make up the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage in summer 2024. / Image courtesy of National Eucharistic Congress
Washington D.C., May 18, 2023 / 16:15 pm (CNA).
This past Wednesday, the executive team for the National Eucharistic Congress announced it will be launching a National Eucharistic Pilgrimage in the summer of 2024. The pilgrimage will consist of four cross-country eucharistic processions, collectively traversing the entire continental United States over a two-month period.
The pilgrimage is being organized by the National Eucharistic Revival campaign in conjunction with Modern Catholic Pilgrim, a Catholic nonprofit dedicated to deepening the faith across the country through pilgrimages.
The organizers are calling it “our national Emmaus moment,” after the biblical passage in which Jesus walked with two of his disciples along the road to Emmaus.
“The pilgrimage is modeled after the road to Emmaus and is an invitation for pilgrims to encounter the risen Christ on the journey and in the breaking of the bread,” Modern Catholic Pilgrim President Will F. Peterson said in a Wednesday press release. “It is a stirring vision — Christ truly present in the Eucharist, traveling across our nation inviting crowds of hungry souls to come and be fed.”
All of the faithful are invited to join in for portions of the pilgrimage to walk with the eucharistic Jesus in cities and through the countryside across the nation.
How will it work?
The pilgrimage will begin during the feast of Pentecost, May 17–19, 2024, from four origin points: San Francisco in the west; Bemidji, Minnesota, from the north; New Haven, Connecticut, from the east; and Brownsville, Texas, from the south.
Each route of the pilgrimage has a specific patron saint who holds a special significance to the regions the pilgrims will be passing through.
Along the way, the pilgrims will make stops in major U.S. cities, churches, Catholic colleges, and holy sites. Parishes along the routes will host Mass, adoration, devotions, praise and worship, lectures on the Eucharist, and more.
Major solemn eucharistic processions will take place on Sundays and smaller processions from parishes will occur during the week. All events will be free and open to the public.
The four pilgrimage processions will ultimately converge in Indianapolis on July 16, 2024, to participate in the National Eucharistic Congress.
Though everyone is invited to join the pilgrimage, four dozen full-time pilgrims from each corner of the U.S. will make the entire journey.
Peterson told CNA that these full-time pilgrims will be young adult Catholics ages 19–29.
The individuals have not yet been selected and will have to undergo an application and interview process.
Peterson also shared that the pilgrimage is working with the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors and plans to work with female religious orders to select seminarians and young women religious to join.
According to the National Eucharistic Revival’s website, approximately 100,000 Catholics are expected to participate.
Here’s how you can participate
The National Eucharistic Pilgrimage’s official website details each of the four routes along with the cities and dates.
More information on specific events will be posted as the pilgrimage draws closer. For now, those who are interested in participating, by either attending an event or walking along with the full-time pilgrims, can find which dates the pilgrimage will be passing through their area.
Though not a comprehensive list, below is a list of some of the major cities and locations along the four routes of the national pilgrimage.
Named the “Serra Route,” after St. Junipero Serra, the patron saint of California, the western route is the longest of the planned pilgrimages and will begin in San Francisco. The pilgrimage will then pass through Salt Lake City; Denver; Omaha, Nebraska; and St. Louis before ending in Indianapolis.
For more information on the western route, click here.
Since this route will stop at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Champion — the first Marian apparition site in the U.S. — it has been dubbed the “Marian Route.” The northern pilgrimage will start from Bemidji, Minnesota, and pass through Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, and Notre Dame, Indiana.
For more information on the northern route, click here.
The eastern route has been named the “Seton Route” after the first American-born saint to be canonized, Elizabeth Ann Seton. It will begin in New Haven, Connecticut, and pass through New York City; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Pittsburgh; Steubenville, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; and Cincinnati.
For more information on the eastern route, click here.
St. Juan Diego, to whom Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared in 1531, is the patron saint of the southern route. This pilgrimage will begin in the city of Brownsville at the far southern tip of Texas. The pilgrims on this route will then pass through Houston; New Orleans; Atlanta; Nashville, Tennessee; and Louisville, Kentucky, before converging with the other pilgrimages.
For more information on the southern route, click here.
More information on how to register to participate will be posted on the pilgrimage website soon.
To sign up for updates on the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, click here.
If you are a young adult interested in applying to be a full-time pilgrim, email email@example.com to be notified when the application goes live this summer.
Why a pilgrimage?
The National Eucharistic Pilgrimage is being organized in conjunction with a three-year-long eucharistic revival campaign by the U.S. Catholic bishops.
Through this campaign, the bishops plan to rededicate the country to Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.
Peterson told CNA that they hope the pilgrims will help to sanctify the nation as they process across the country.
“One hope is that this pilgrimage serves the larger revival goal of increasing belief in the real presence and increasing Mass attendance among Catholics,” Peterson said. “We would also hope that people from across the spectrum, from spiritual seekers to devout Catholics, will all have encounters with the risen Christ through the Blessed Sacrament and be pulled another level deeper into faith, missioned to make a difference right in their own communities.”
More information on the revival can be found here.
To register to participate in the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis July 17–21, 2024, click here.