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Going Forth with Intention

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While working at my previous diocese many years ago, a coworker and I talked about taking a pilgrimage. Overhearing the conversation, our bishop asked where we were going. After we tossed around ideas for Rome, he considered our words for a moment then said, “And what’s the purpose of your pilgrimage?” My coworker and I looked at each other confused and shrugged. The bishop nodded and continued, “In order for your trip to be a ‘pilgrimage,’ you have to go with intention. Otherwise, you’re just going on vacation.”

Noted. With a little research, I learned that those intentions can range greatly: from praying for a particular need and encountering God more deeply, to deepening and enriching a marriage. The distance traveled can be vast, like walking the Camino, or small, like a five-mile leg of the Marian Pilgrimage that many in this archdiocese completed a few years ago.

While I never did take that pilgrimage to Rome, those smaller opportunities seem to show up in my life when I need them most.

As I write this, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati is preparing to host pilgrims from the Seton Route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage. From July 1-8, parishes from Xenia, down through Lebanon, to Cincinnati will host pilgrims on their way from Connecticut to Indianapolis. When they arrive in Indiana, they will join pilgrims from three other routes who also made their way across the United States to participate in the National Eucharistic Congress.

This Eucharistic pilgrimage is one of those convenient opportunities where you don’t have to travel far to take part—and the pilgrimage’s intention is already set: Eucharistic renewal.

“The Pilgrimage will be a powerful, once-in-a-lifetime witness of how Jesus Christ comes close to us and invites all to encounter Him in the Eucharist,” said Bishop Andew Cozzens, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the National Eucharistic Congress.

Take time between now and the pilgrimage’s arrival in Southwestern Ohio to check the events, locations, and dates on page 24 of this issue (or online at https://catholicaoc. org/jesus-is-here). Both plan how you can take part, and consider your prayer intentions. Event organizers ask that if you can’t join the pilgrims in person, you join with them spiritually: “Join us in prayer that our nation encounters our Lord powerfully as He journeys to be near to us in this remarkable new way!”

And as you prepare, visit eucharisticpilgrimage.org to see where the pilgrims are nationwide each day and how they have witnessed Jesus to those around them. May this event be the spark that reignites Eucharistic renewal and belief in the United States.

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