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HomeArticleThe Longest and Grandest Portion of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage: A Look at the Serra Route

The Longest and Grandest Portion of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage: A Look at the Serra Route

The Longest and Grandest Portion of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage: A Look at the Serra Route

A map of a few of the largest cities that will be traversed by the Serra Route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage. (photo: EWTN News In Depth)

 

This weekend, the faithful embark across the Golden Gate Bridge, to traverse the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and the Midwest’s Great Plains, as a public witness to the Church’s teaching that the Eucharist is truly the Body of Jesus Christ.

This weekend marks the beginning of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, an unprecedented effort to walk with the Eucharist thousands of miles across the United States as a public witness to the Church’s teaching that the Eucharist is truly the Body of Jesus Christ.

A group of two dozen young people, dubbed “Perpetual Pilgrims,” will walk the entire way, 6,500 miles in total, across the four routes. All are welcome to participate in Eucharistic processions and other prayer-filled events taking place across the country over the next two months.

The longest and arguably the most challenging of the four routes, the Junipero Serra Route, begins in San Francisco and ends in Indianapolis at the National Eucharistic Congress, July 17–21. The Serra Route pilgrims will walk more than 2,000 miles — across the Golden Gate Bridge, the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and the Midwest’s Great Plains.

The Serra Route is named after “The Apostle of California,” St. Junipero Serra, whom Pope Francis canonized during a visit to the United States in 2015. Father Serra was an 18th-century Franciscan priest and missionary who founded mission churches all along the California coast, many of which are still in operation as Catholic churches today.

 

 

Here are some highlights to expect during this historic pilgrimage.

 

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge — May 19

 

The Golden Gate Bridge. Credit: EWTN News in Depth

The Golden Gate Bridge | EWTN News In Depth

 

There will be a special blessing of the Perpetual Pilgrims before they begin their journey at Mission Dolores, which was founded in 1776 and remains the oldest intact building in San Francisco. Soon after the commencement of the pilgrimage, following Pentecost Mass at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco, the procession will move to the Golden Gate Bridge and cross its iconic 1.7-mile span. Those wanting to join for this portion can register here.

 

Sailing on the Sacramento River — May 22

 

The Sacramento River. Credit: EWTN News in Depth

The Sacramento River | EWTN News In Depth

 

After arriving in Sacramento — California’s capital, which is named for the Blessed Sacrament — by boat, the procession will proceed to a homeless shelter for Eucharistic adoration. Later, the pilgrims will visit inmates at Folsom Prison. Catholic leaders in Sacramento say they have arranged for the events in Sacramento to serve and celebrate the city’s marginalized: the unhoused, prisoners, migrants, mothers in need, and farm workers. (Register here.)

 

Boating across Lake Tahoe — May 24

 

Lake Tahoe on the Nevada-California border. Credit: EWTN News in Depth

Lake Tahoe on the Nevada-California border | EWTN News In Depth

 

At South Lake Tahoe, near the California-Nevada border, the procession will take to the water once again and sail across the lake, which is world-renowned for its scenery and recreation opportunities. (Register to join here.)

 

Traversing the Rocky Mountains — roughly May 26 to June 6

 

The Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Credit: Jonah McKeown

The Rocky Mountains in Colorado | Jonah McKeown/CNA

 

Between Lake Tahoe and Denver, there will be numerous opportunities for participants to join the procession as it goes through some of the country’s most spectacular scenery in Nevada, Oregon, Idaho and Utah.

This portion of the route will take the pilgrims across the Great Basin desert and then through the rugged and awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains, which inspired St. John Paul II when, as pope, he came to Denver for World Youth Day in 1993. (In case you’re wondering, not everything on the route will be done on foot; specially designed vans will transport the Eucharist and the pilgrims over certain portions of all four routes.)

 

Jesus on the Plains of Nebraska — June 21

 

Bishop James Conley leads a Eucharistic procession outside Lincoln's Cathedral of the Risen Christ. Credit: Diocese of Lincoln

Bishop James Conley leads a Eucharistic procession outside Lincoln’s Cathedral of the Risen Christ. | Diocese of Lincoln

 

In a joint event between the Archdiocese of Omaha and the Diocese of Lincoln, the procession will begin outside on the grounds of the Cloisters on the Platte (a well-known Ignatian retreat center) and process about 5 miles with the Blessed Sacrament to the picturesque Holy Family Shrine. (Register here.)

 

A Stop at Benedictine College — June 25-26

 

Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. Credit: EWTN News in Depth

Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas | EWTN News In Depth

 

The procession will go through Atchison, Kansas, home of Benedictine College. Overnight adoration will take place June 25, followed the next morning by the Liturgy of the Hours and Benediction, the celebration of Mass, and a Eucharistic procession around campus on June 26. (Register here.)

 

A Walk Through the ‘Rome of the West’ — July 5-7

 

The St. Louis Arch. Credit: Jonah McKeown/CNA

The St. Louis Arch | Jonah McKeown/CNA

 

In early July, the procession will make its way through St. Louis, which is sometimes called the “Rome of the West” for its many beautiful Catholic churches. The procession will stop at several shrines, including the Shrine of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, a French missionary saint who brought Catholic education to the Missouri frontier in the early 19th century. (Register here.)

 

 

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