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Fill up your passport … at Eucharistic chapels?

Bishop-James-Conley

SNR photo | Natalie Bender

Bishop James Conley preaches about the Eucharist during the "Eucharistic Encounter" hosted June 20 at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ in Lincoln by Spirit Catholic Radio.

Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 09/02/23

Catholics in Nebraska can join a very cool new initiative to get to know their state’s churches and chapels through a Eucharistic Passport Pilgrimage.

If you know someone who lives in Nebraska, you probably know that the Catholic Church is booming there. 

My Nebraskan friends send glowing reports of vibrant Catholic schools and energetic, growing Catholic churches. It all sounds like a dream come true (other than the Nebraska winters, maybe).

Now Catholics in Nebraska can join a very cool new initiative to get to know their state’s churches and chapels. 

Bishop James Conley has invited the Lincoln diocese to embark on a Eucharistic Passport Pilgrimage in the year ahead. He returned last year from trekking the Camino de Santiago, on which pilgrims stamp a passport to show they’ve visited. 

“He thought it would be interesting to blend the idea of going to various locations — stamping a passport to say you’ve visited — with the Eucharistic Revival, to get people to see some of the beautiful Eucharistic chapels and churches in our diocese,” said Fr. Christopher Eckrich, Priest Secretary to the Most Rev. James D. Conley. 

Bishop-James-Conley
Bishop James Conley leads a Eucharistic procession August 13 in the gymnasium of Pius X High School in Lincoln.

Similarly, the Nebraska Tourism Commission launched a successful “Nebraska Passport” Program to encourage visitors to remarkable Nebraska locations. “These two things together helped form the idea of the Eucharistic Passport Pilgrimage,” Eckrich said.

Fr. Eckrich coordinated the effort to launch the Eucharistic Passport Pilgrimage in the diocese. So far, they have distributed 10,500 passports among local parishes. 

The Lincoln diocese also partnered with the Hallow App to provide content for people as they pray. 

“Any time someone can spend quality quiet time before our Eucharistic Lord, Jesus can speak to their heart, and they can speak to Jesus,” Eckrich said. “One of the goals of the Eucharistic Revival is to create opportunities of encounter with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. We pray that this might happen for those who take up the challenge of the Eucharistic Passport Program.” 

CDOL_Passport_cover.jpg

Try it at home

He encouraged other dioceses to give the program a try, saying, “It would be very easy for any diocese to create a program like this! There are many hidden gems in dioceses across the country.”

Pilgrimages remind us of our purpose on earth as we journey toward our heavenly home. “Pilgrimages are a microcosm of the journey of life, to help us grow closer to Christ,” he said. “They remind us of our ultimate pilgrimage of life towards eternity.”

With that in mind, he and the Lincoln diocese pray that the program will offer a way to lead souls to Christ. 

“Yes, getting the stamp is fun, and it’s cool to see these various locations in our beautiful state … but it’s ultimately about journeying to encounter Christ in the Eucharist,” he said. “If we grow closer to Him in the process, and if it helps our faith grow—even if we didn’t hit all 17 sites—then praise God! The program served its purpose.”

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