Pilgrims cross the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge into Iowa. ERVIN PHOTOGRAPHY

Encountering Jesus

National Eucharistic Pilgrimage moves on, but another pilgrimage continues

When the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage crossed through the archdiocese June 21-23, thousands took part in processions, adoration and other events in Gretna, Winnebago and Omaha.

The pilgrimage was historic, part of a National Eucharistic Revival and leading up to a National Eucharistic Congress, to be held July 17-21 in Indianapolis.

Though the national pilgrimage is a unique occurrence, a similar thing happens regularly for faithful Catholics who receive Jesus in the Eucharist at Mass, Archbishop George J. Lucas said.

Simply receiving Jesus isn’t enough, the archbishop said in his homily Sunday, June 23, at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha. Like those who were about to take part in a Eucharistic procession into downtown Omaha, Catholics are called to bring Jesus into the world, he said.

“We can’t just stop here,” at the Mass, Archbishop Lucas said. “We’re going to take the Lord out the door.”

A Eucharistic procession begins after Mass at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha. ERVIN PHOTOGRAPHY

“Jesus has come for me and you,” and “he’s come for our neighbors, too.”

“We go through the streets of our city carrying the Lord, grateful for this gift that we have received, but I hope conscious of the people around us who are struggling and afraid and confused, worried, tossed about in all kinds of ways.”

The National Eucharistic Pilgrimage attracted thousands of people while it was in the archdiocese.

According to organizers:

More than 500 people joined a 4.5-mile procession on Friday, June 21, from The Cloisters on the Platte to Holy Family Shrine, both in the Gretna area.

Pilgrims accompany the Blessed Sacrament on a Gretna area procession from The Cloisters on the Platte to Holy Family Shrine.

The following day, about 100 people were at a Mass and breakfast at St. Benedict the Moor Parish in Omaha; more than 280 people took part in adoration, a traditional Native American lunch, and a Eucharistic procession at St. Augustine Indian Mission in Winnebago; and about 800 people joined in evening adoration at St. Wenceslaus Church in Omaha.

Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is welcomed in song in front of St. Augustine Church in Winnebago. PETER SOBY

Archbishop Lucas leads Exposition and Benediction at St. Wenceslaus Church in Omaha.

On Sunday, more than 1,100 people packed into St. Cecilia Cathedral for the archbishop’s Mass. After the pews filled up, many were left standing.

More than 2,000 people joined the Eucharistic procession that followed, from the cathedral to St. John Parish on the Creighton campus and across the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge into Iowa, where the national pilgrimage continued east.

Pilgrims worship at St. John Church on the Creighton University campus in Omaha. ERVIN PHOTOGRAPHY

But in the archdiocese, a less visible pilgrimage continues every time someone receives Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and goes out into the world.

“This Gift which is given to us, which we cherish, and by which we are renewed, it’s not just for us,” Archbishop Lucas reminded those at Mass. “It’s for the life of the world.”


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