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Organizers of National Eucharistic Congress announce pilgrimage plans, major budget cut

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Organizers of the 2024 National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis have announced plans for a major pilgrimage to the event — and a big budget cut.

The Congress, which is the culmination of the National Eucharistic Revival — a three-year initiative by the U.S. bishops to inspire Eucharist belief — is expected to draw some 80,000 people and have a “World Youth Day feel,” Bishop Andrew Cozzens of Crookston, Minnesota, told reporters at a briefing Wednesday in Baltimore.

When the initiative was approved a year ago, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA — who now is president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops — raised concerns about the eucharistic congress’ $28 million budget.

“I think this is a wonderful proposal. I’m a little concerned, though, and I’ve mentioned this to you once before, the $28 million price tag on this gathering, I think, might appear to be a bit scandalous, if you think about all of the things that the Church needs and asks money for,” Broglio said at the time.

At the bishops’ fall assembly this year, which concluded in Baltimore on Thursday, Cozzens, who chairs the bishops’ eucharistic revival advisory group, said that “originally one of the great concerns for all of us was the cost, and we’ve been able to make significant inroads in getting the cost down.”

Cande de Leon, the revival’s chief advancement officer, said organizers “look[ed] at how can we be as efficient as possible but still put on a world-class national eucharistic congress that will really entice people, to bring people to want to come together in solidarity.”

“So, I’m happy to report that cost has almost been cut in half,” he said.

He said that a “big part” of the cut is attributed to the revival’s choice to recruit experienced people who are “in-house” and have a “missionary spirit.”

Despite the budget cut, the congress itself isn’t being scaled down, a staff member working on the initiative told CNA.

Some attending the event will be arriving on a pilgrimage to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, where the congress will take place starting July 17, 2024.

“We’re really modeling this on the road to Emmaus, walking with Jesus towards the experience of the breaking the bread that happens in Mass,” Cozzens said.

Pilgrims will depart from four different locations, he said: one in the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas; in the Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut, at the site of the tomb of Blessed Michael McGivney, the founder of the Knights of Columbus; in San Francisco at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption; and a fourth site in Crookston.

Plans for how pilgrims will travel — whether that be by bus, car, foot, or some combination — have not been finalized yet.

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Organizers of National Eucharistic Congress announce pilgrimage plans, major budget cut