Diocese to Welcome National Eucharistic Pilgrims and Host Special Eucharistic Observances


By Tony DeGol

A unique and historic opportunity for local Catholics to celebrate the True Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist is coming to the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown in a matter of days.

In honor of the Eucharistic Revival in the Catholic Church in America, pilgrims from around the country are making their way to the National Eucharistic Congress scheduled for this summer in Indianapolis, Indiana, via four routes crossing regions of the nation.

The Seton Route, named after Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American-born saint to be canonized by the Catholic Church, departed from New Haven, Connecticut, on May 17 and is making its way through the northeast, including the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown in June.

Our local Church will have the opportunity to welcome the pilgrims at holy sites in our area, celebrate the Sacraments of Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation, and publicly proclaim our devotion to the Eucharist as the Source and Summit of Catholic life.

Pilgrims on the Seton Route will arrive in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown on Sunday, June 9. The focus that day will be on Loretto.

Confessions will be heard indoors at the Basilica of Saint Michael the Archangel and outside on the grounds of the neighboring Our Lady of the Alleghenies Shrine from 5:00-7:00 p.m.

Bishop Mark will celebrate an outdoor Mass at the Shrine at 7:00 p.m. A Eucharistic procession around the grounds will follow, as well as a witness talk by one of the national pilgrims.

On Monday, June 10, observances move to Johnstown where Confessions will be heard from Noon until 3:00 p.m. at Saint John Gualbert Cathedral and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will occur from Noon until 3:45 p.m., also at the Cathedral.

A Eucharistic process will then happen at 4:00 p.m., beginning at the Cathedral and continuing through the streets of downtown Johnstown to Central Park, with witness talks by national pilgrims.

Bishop Mark will celebrate Mass inside the Cathedral at 5:30 p.m.

Two locations in Blair County will host observances on Tuesday, June 11.

A special Mass will be celebrated at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona at 9:00 a.m.

Meanwhile, at Saint Catherine of Siena Parish in Duncansville, Confessions will be heard beginning at 10:30 a.m. and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will begin at 11:00 a.m. with witness talks by the national pilgrims during Exposition.

At 12:30 p.m., a Eucharistic procession will take place around the outdoor shrine behind Saint Catherine of Siena, concluding with Benediction.

All are invited to be part of any or all of the observances over the three days as the Diocesan Church of Altoona-Johnstown offers praise and thanksgiving to God for the blessing of the Holy Eucharist.