National Eucharistic Revival: Rain and wind does not stop pilgrims from participating in 13-mile procession

Despite the heavy rain and temperatures in the mid-50s, Rick and Delaine Bzdok left their apartment on May 24 to join the Marian Route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage at St. Mary’s Cathedral. Their daughter, Penelope Joy, attached to Delaine in an infant carrier, was along for the journey.

The Bzdok family, Rick, Delaine and their daughter Penelope Joy, were pilgrims on May 24 for the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage route from St. Cloud to Clear Lake, MN. (Amber Walling / The Central Minnesota Catholic)

“We have known about this event for well over a year, and we always planned to be a part of it,” Rick said. “The route goes right by our apartment, so it made it special that we could start and end right at home.”

Rick works as the youth and family formation minister for the All Called to Christ Area Catholic Community, which includes the six Catholic parishes in St. Cloud.

“We will not be able to participate in the events in Indianapolis, but I have many friends that will be there,” he said. “Being here today is one way I can participate with them without being at the Eucharistic Congress in July.”

“I’m just hoping I get some time off in purgatory for carrying my 20-pound baby in the procession,” Delaine joked as she walked along. “Even though it’s uncomfortable, and at times we were walking in the rain, we serve as witnesses.”

The couple wanted to show Penelope what it means to be part of something as important and historical as this, even if she won’t remember it, they said.

“We will have the flag and bell as mementoes, photos to show her and can share our stories with her. Just as we serve as witnesses for Christ today, these things will serve as a witness to her when she’s older,” Rick said.

The Bzdok family was part of the more than 100 pilgrims and volunteers, ranging from infants to senior citizens, who started at St. Mary’s Cathedral that morning. Some pilgrims came ready to complete the full walking procession, stretching over 13 miles from St. Cloud to Clear Lake.

“This is a cool opportunity to walk with Jesus and be part of the pilgrimage,” said Trisha Welle, a

Trisha Welle joined the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage route on May 24 despite heavy rains. (Amber Walling / The Central Minnesota Catholic)

resident of St. Cloud. “The rain makes this more interesting.”

Matthew Scherber, a student of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana originally from Buffalo, Minnesota, wanted the pilgrimage to be part of his summer experience while home from college.

“I will not be able to go to Indianapolis for the Eucharistic Congress, so I wanted to attend any pilgrimage events within reasonable driving distance from home,” Scherber said. “After I heard that there was a long walk today, I knew I wanted to participate.”

Scherber walked alongside Simon Greenen from Monticello.

“I came today because I love adoration,” Greenen said. “God worked in my heart through adoration during an experience at a Steubenville retreat in Rochester and that’s what made me love the Catholic faith.”

Simon Greenen, left, and Matthew Scherber walk the Marian Route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage. (Amber Walling / The Central Minnesota Catholic)

Also in the group of pilgrims were Jacob and Katherine Massmann, parishioners at St. Joseph Parish in Waite Park.

“We completed a couple of prayer walks last year and we wanted to walk with the Lord today,” said Katherine. “I’m not going to be able to walk all day due to work, but I wanted to participate as long as I could.”

By the time the rain had stopped later in the morning, approximately three miles into the route, the Bzdok family was nearly back to their apartment, where they planned to finish.

“The excitement and joy we all feel in this pilgrimage is showing St. Cloud that there is a sense of Catholic pride in our diocese and that we are not dying away and gone,” Rick said. “I hope that it continues to build as it moves throughout the country toward Indianapolis.”

The Marian route is one of four Eucharistic Pilgrimage routes traveling from every direction of the United States from May to July 2024. The Marian (north) route began in Bemidji on May 17 and will come together with the other three routes in Indianapolis July 16. For more information about the pilgrimage, visit

Pictured above: The pilgrims weather the rain as the procession passes by Riverside Park in St. Cloud. (Dianne Towalski / The Central Minnesota Catholic)

Author: Amber Walling

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