Wow Over 1,200 at the Washington, DC, Eucharistic Procession in Prayer and Song Honoring Jesus!

Over 1,200 faithful took to the streets of the nation’s capital June 8 to celebrate the arrival of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage in the Archdiocese of Washington with prayers, songs and a procession.
The event began with a morning mass, attended by over 2,000, in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception followed by the pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Saint John Paul II.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop emeritus of Washington, and about 36 priests from the different parishes of the metropolitan area concelebrated the Mass, along with Bishop Evelio Menj√≠var. The central reflection was “Walking with Jesus: To Jesus through Mary.”
The homily was given by Father Michael Fuller, general secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, who said that it is very edifying to see a church full of faithful seeking Christ, following Mary and asking for the strength of the Holy Spirit.

“It is important to understand that pilgrimage is an external journey intended to trigger an internal journey, that is, a journey of the heart where we meet the Lord. Remember, we are people on the path to a deeper encounter with the Lord,” Father Fuller said.

Prayers were also offered for warming the hearts of political leaders, strengthening Church leaders, and for an end to the violence in Haiti, as well as an end to the war in Ukraine and the Holy Land.

During the procession, the faithful prayed the luminous mysteries of the rosary, heard the Word of God proclaimed, and accompanied the monstrance holding Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament, through the streets of Northeast Washington.
Washington was one of many stops along the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage’s eastern Seton Route — named for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Part of four national pilgrimages scheduled to come together in Indianapolis July 16th for the National Eucharistic Congress, which takes place July 17-21. The other three routes — the Marian, Serra and Juan Diego – are coming to Indianapolis from the north, west and south.
Six “perpetual pilgrims” and a priest are making the entire journey with the Eucharist in a monstrance. Catholics have been invited to join the pilgrims along the way and participate in events associated with stops along the pilgrimage route.

Prior to the procession, Washington Auxiliary Bishop Evelio Menjivar celebrated Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. About 36 priests were concelebrants, including Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, retired archbishop of Washington
The Mass and procession were held on the day that the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so Father Fuller encouraged the pilgrims to “imitate the heart of Mary and take in the real presence of the Lord.”
“Let our hearts exult in the Lord and rejoice in his love,” Father Fuller said.
Msgr. Walter Rossi, rector of the basilica, greeted participants and prayed that “Our Lady accompany our steps, so that as we ‘Walk with Jesus: To Jesus through Mary,’ our will hearts will always beat as one with the heart of her Divine Son.”

Before the start of the procession, the Most Blessed Sacrament was exposed on the Upper Church’s main altar where the faithful could offer their adoration in silent prayer.

After departing the basilica, pilgrims — led by Bishop Menjivar, men and women religious and the perpetual pilgrims — processed along a route through the Brookland neighborhood of Northeast Washington. It included stops at the Angels Unaware statue on the campus of The Catholic University of America, the Dominican House of Studies and USCCB headquarters, concluding at the St. John Paul II National Shrine.
Prayers and reflections were offered in English and Spanish
Some pilgrims made the procession in wheelchairs. Some were pulled in wagons or pushed in baby carriages. All raised their voices in prayer to publicly profess their belief that the Eucharist is indeed the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ.
At times along the route, nearby residents stood in doorways and on apartment balconies or came out to the sidewalk to watch as the Eucharist processed by. Many times onlookers genuflected or bowed or blessed themselves. Several waved and blew kisses.

The procession concluded at the St. John Paul II National Shrine with Benediction followed by a catechesis.
Pope Francis granted participants in the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage and the National Eucharistic Congress the opportunity to receive a plenary indulgence.

This means that the plenary indulgence will be granted to those who participate in the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage at any time between May 17 and July 16.

It will also be granted to the elderly, the sick and all those who cannot leave their homes for serious reasons and who participate in spirit with the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, uniting their prayers, pains or inconveniences with Christ and the pilgrimage.

It is important to keep in mind that, to receive a plenary indulgence, a person must meet the following conditions: sacramental confession, holy communion, and prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father.

The National Eucharistic Pilgrimage and subsequent National Eucharistic Congress are part of a three-year National Eucharistic Revival initiated by the United States bishops in 2022 to inspire greater understanding and love for Jesus in the Eucharist.

Sources: and OSV News