National Eucharistic Pilgrimage: A once in a lifetime walk with Jesus

The Diocese of St. Cloud will host the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, a portion of a national event beginning mid-May where four groups of pilgrims will travel, mostly by foot, from routes beginning in the north, south, east and west of the country, converging in the city of Indianapolis ahead of the National Eucharistic Congress, slated for July 17-21.

The procession in the Diocese of St. Cloud is part of the Marian Route, which begins on May 17 at the Star of the North Eucharistic Congress in Bemidji and will pass through Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois before meeting the other routes in Indianapolis. 

Each route has been locally mapped out and traveled to ensure there are no unexpected obstacles, such as freeway walls or road construction. Local coordinators also are, when needed, working with local authorities to make large-scale processions possible. While smaller events are planned nightly, each weekend of the pilgrimage places the pilgrims in a city, where Mass, adoration and other celebrations are planned.

Tricia Walz

The local coordinator for the diocese is Tricia Walz, a member of St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud.

“I don’t think that anything like this has ever happened. This is a once in a lifetime event,” Walz said. “Even if I wasn’t running it, I would take days off work just to be part of it.” 

The National Eucharistic Pilgrimage will wind through Mora, Gilman, Little Falls, Long Prairie, Sauk Centre, St. Cloud and Clear Lake before continuing to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

“Events are hosted at each location,” Walz said. “We purposely tried to do a lot of events so a variety of ages and abilities can participate. Some processions are just a few blocks and some are longer. There are other events that people can attend even if they are not involved in the procession, including speakers, adoration, meals and more.” 

Lee Ann King, faith formation director at St. Mary Church in Mora, serves as the pilgrimage coordinator for the first leg of the journey.

“I look forward to having our church be a witness to our community and displaying the Eucharist. It connects us to the long history of eucharistic processions in the Church,” King said. 

The events in Mora, where the Eucharist first enters the diocese, will begin at the Mora JC baseball fields.

“It’s a good place to start the route, as we will take the time to bless the schools in the area before we start the procession past the local nursing home, the community gardens and to the church,” she said. 

Our Lady of Lourdes in Little Falls, part of the Haven of Mercy Area Catholic Community, will welcome the pilgrimage as the third stop in the diocese. 

Jason Becker, director of evangelization for Haven of Mercy, anticipates the arrival of the Eucharist on May 23. 

“We will have some hospitality at 7 a.m. Then, at 8 a.m., all middle school students will participate in the procession over the bridge to St. Mary’s to have Mass together with the elementary students at 9 a.m.,” Becker said. 

“It’s a neat honor to be part of this. It’s an opportunity to reach out to people who may not be involved in the Church and see how the Holy Spirit is stirring in people’s hearts.” 

A vehicle procession will leave Little Falls and move to Long Prairie, where pilgrimage coordinator there, Patti Weibye, the head sacristan for St. Mary of Mount Carmel, is most excited about the procession into town.

“The Eucharist will be escorted into Long Prairie on Morrison County Road. We can watch as the procession comes over the hill. It’s going to be a ‘wow moment’ when it starts to arrive,” she said. 

For Route details, click the image.

The longest stretch of the walking procession is between St. Mary’s Cathedral and St. Marcus in Clear Lake. The 13-mile procession will occur over a 10-hour period of time on a route with water stations, porta-potties and designated bus stops for participants to return back to St. Cloud — similar to a long-distance running event. 

“Can any of us say we’ve done a half-marathon with Jesus?” Walz said. “We will be able to now.”

Learn More: For more information and to see updates of the itinerary, visit Stcdio.Org/Eucharistic- Revival.

Story by Amber Walling. OSV News contributed to this story. 

Author: Amber Walling

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