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HomeArticleFamilies on Pilgrimage: Catholics of All Ages Join Eucharistic Processions in St. Louis

Families on Pilgrimage: Catholics of All Ages Join Eucharistic Processions in St. Louis

Families on Pilgrimage: Catholics of All Ages Join Eucharistic Processions in St. Louis

Families joined the procession as the Eucharist left the Shrine of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, headed for St. Peter Parish. (photo: Jonah McKeown / CNA)

 

With only one week to go, the four NEP groups are drawing near to their common destination in Indianapolis.

Summer heat and the Missouri River’s rising floodwaters did little to deter thousands of people, including many families with young children, from joining over the weekend for Eucharistic processions and other events in St. Louis as part of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage.

Kimberly and Jason Lytle, parishioners at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in St. Charles, organized a large group from their parish to attend the procession. They brought their sons Joseph and Matthew and greeted Father Stephen Schumacher, associate pastor at their parish.

 

Father Stephen Schumacher and the Lytle family: Joseph, Kimberly, Matthew, and Jason. Credit: Jonah McKeown/CNA

Father Stephen Schumacher and the Lytle family: Joseph, Kimberly, Matthew, and Jason. Credit: Jonah McKeown/CNA

 

Bridget and John Hilmes of nearby Florissant, Missouri, attended the procession with their two children. They made the walk from St. Charles Borromeo, but the chapel at the shrine was too packed to fit their stroller into. Thankfully, the shaded area outside the shrine was breezy and pleasant. “It’s a beautiful day to adore Jesus,” Bridget Hilmes said.

 

Bridget and John Hilmes. Credit: Jonah McKeown/CNA

Bridget and John Hilmes. Credit: Jonah McKeown/CNA

 

Brandon and Celie Gervais came from St. Peters, Missouri, just down the road. They brought their three children, with the youngest riding in a carrier on his father’s back.

 

Brandon and Celie Gervais and their children. Credit: Jonah McKeown/CNA

Brandon and Celie Gervais and their children. Credit: Jonah McKeown/CNA

 

On Saturday, the Serra Route’s Perpetual Pilgrims — a group of young people committed to walking the entire route with Jesus — visited the Missionaries of Charity at their home in a low-income neighborhood in north St. Louis City. The pilgrims were warmly welcomed to St. Josephine Bakhita Parish, a historically Black congregation only a block or two from the Missionaries of Charity, for lunch and fellowship.

Sunday’s events began with Mass at a packed Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, celebrated by Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski, with the 5.5-mile procession beginning immediately afterward.

Outside the cathedral, a lone pro-abortion protestor stood with a sign, waiting for the procession to exit the church. A young Catholic mother of three, with her children in tow, attempted to block the man’s sign with her body as the Eucharistic monstrance approached.

“It was the Holy Spirit” that inspired the woman’s pro-life witness, she told CNA afterward. “I just didn’t want Jesus to see that,” said the mother, whose name CNA is withholding for her privacy.

 

A young Catholic mother attempts to block a pro-abortion sign outside the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis on July 7, 2024. Credit: Jonah McKeown/CNA

A young Catholic mother attempts to block a pro-abortion sign outside the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis on July 7, 2024. Credit: Jonah McKeown/CNA

 

In the 90-degree heat, not every family with children walked the entire way. The Flaim family — Silvio and Ellen — from Crestwood, Missouri, joined for the last mile or so with their two children and enjoyed the experience.

 

Silvio and Ellen Flaim and their children at the end of the Eucharistic Procession in St. Louis. Credit: Jonah McKeown/CNA

Silvio and Ellen Flaim and their children at the end of the Eucharistic Procession in St. Louis. Credit: Jonah McKeown/CNA

 

Alex and Mary Hermann from Arnold, Missouri, and their young son joined near the end of the procession as well.

 

Alex and Mary Hermann, from Arnold, Missouri, and their young son after the Eucharistic procession in St. Louis. Credit: Jonah McKeown/CNA

Alex and Mary Hermann, from Arnold, Missouri, and their young son after the Eucharistic procession in St. Louis. Credit: Jonah McKeown/CNA

 

Gabe Jones, a Knight of Columbus, was one of several St. Louis-area Knights who accompanied the Eucharist the entire way, oftentimes reaching up to hold tree branches out of the way of the canopy and passing bottles of water to people who needed them. He met his family at the end of the route at St. Stephen Protomartyr Parish.

Jones said the procession group was so large that he noticed groups praying the Rosary in one area and groups singing and chanting in others.

“When you have a group that big, it kind of becomes an organic thing,” he said.

 

The Jones family after the Eucharistic procession in St. Louis. Credit: Jonah McKeown/CNA

The Jones family after the Eucharistic procession in St. Louis. Credit: Jonah McKeown/CNA

 

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