The National Eucharistic Congress, Inc., has opened its application process for young Catholics to take part in the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage next year. Those selected will be part of four groups who accompany the Blessed Sacrament from four points of the United States and converge on Indianapolis for the 10th National Eucharistic Congress in July.
Young people ages 19-29 can apply to be Perpetual Pilgrims along the four distinct routes. Joined by a priest chaplain, a consistent group of volunteers is needed from May 17 to July 21, 2024.
Perpetual Pilgrims will travel a combined distance of 6,500 miles, stopping at many holy sites along the coast-to-coast pilgrimage modeled after the Gospel account of Jesus’ journey to Emmaus two millennia ago.
“Never before has the U.S. Church asked its young people to serve as stewards of the Risen Christ in this way, accompanying the Blessed Sacrament along the four routes to this life-changing National Eucharistic Congress,” said Will Peterson, President and Founder of Modern Catholic Pilgrim, the official pilgrimage partner of the National Eucharistic Congress. “We are blessed to invite young adult Catholics from across the country to discern answering the call to serve.”
The routes of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, named for saintly significance corresponding to the geographical starting point, will pass through many major U.S. cities beginning in San Francisco, California (Serra Route); Bemidji, Minnesota (Marian Route); New Haven, Connecticut (Seton Route); and Brownsville, Texas (Juan Diego Route).
Each journey will be rooted in daily celebration of the Mass with a general schedule consisting of a major solemn procession on Sundays, with Mass and smaller processions at parishes during the week. Pilgrims will travel 10-15 miles a day while taking part in a minor Eucharistic procession.
In addition to Mass, parishes will host Adoration, 40 Hours devotions, praise and worship services, lectures on the Eucharist, pilgrim testimonies, meals, and fellowship. Biblical hospitality will be offered via host families, parishes, religious orders, schools, shrines, retreat centers, and everything in between.
Baptized and practicing Catholics interested in serving as Perpetual Pilgrims must be in good physical condition, capable of walking long distances, and must agree to uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church for the duration of the pilgrimage. Additional commitments, such as willingness to act in ministerial roles and participate in necessary training sessions, are required in the preliminary application.
Deadline to submit an application is November 28. Interview and further screenings will follow, with final selection taking place in January 2024.
“We are seeking a diverse group of faithful Catholics who bring together an array of experience in ministry, service, and even pilgrimage background,” Peterson said. “We hope all those who are eligible will prayerfully consider donating their gifts and abilities by applying for this unique opportunity.”
In addition to Perpetual Pilgrims, all Catholics are encouraged to visit https://www.eucharisticpilgrimage.org/ to discern involvement as a day pilgrim, view a map of the routes, explore detailed FAQ, learn about the patron saint for each route, and sign up to receive updates regarding specific routes.