Pilgrims from Rochester Diocese attend eucharistic congress - Catholic Courier
People take part in a eucharistic procession.

A eucharistic procession took place outside at the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs in Auriesville, N.Y., Oct. 21 during the second day of the New York State Eucharistic Congress. (Courier photo by Jeff Witherow)

Pilgrims from Rochester Diocese attend eucharistic congress

AURIESVILLE — Though they had been up since 6 a.m., Joe Hall, Julia Brown, Rose Cornelius, Annette Larrabee, Barbara Walker and Katie Gillio were ready and excited for the day ahead when they arrived in Auriesville just before 10 a.m.

“I just want to learn more about Jesus in the Eucharist,” Hall said.

“I just want to have a closer relationship with Jesus,” Walker added.

The six, who had traveled by bus from Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick parishes in Tioga County, were among more than 8,000 people from across New York state who descended on the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs in Auriesville Oct. 21 for the second day of the New York State Eucharistic Congress.

The three-day event was organized by the New York State Catholic Conference and was part of the National Eucharistic Revival, a three-year campaign launched in 2022 by the U.S. bishops to increase Catholics’ understanding of and devotion to Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist.

The revival opened June, 19, 2022, on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, and it will conclude with a National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis July 17-21, 2024.

Buses from the Diocese of Rochester travel to Congress

Buses from the Diocese of Rochester traveled to the state congress for the day Oct. 21. A bus that departed from Honeoye in Ontario County had 45 people from various parishes throughout the diocese.

“We had people as far away as Prattsburgh and as far north as Webster,” said Maureen McCarron, a member of the Eucharistic Revival team at Honeoye’s St. Mary Church and organizer of the bus trip from Honeoye. “We kind of spanned the whole diocese.”

Father Steven Lewis, parochial vicar of Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick in Owego, organized the bus trip from the Southern Tier.

“It (the bus trip) was fantastic,” Gillio said, noting that riders on the bus prayed the rosary as they traveled to the shrine.

Mass included clergy from around the state

Many of the pilgrims who traveled to the congress came for the principal Mass, which was celebrated by Bishop Terry LaValley of the Diocese of Ogdensburg. In total, 260 bishops, priests, deacons and seminarians took part in the Mass. Among them was Rochester Bishop Salvatore R. Matano.

“It was an extraordinary experience to see so many of the faithful come together in prayer, especially the prayer that is the church’s most preferred prayer, the celebration of Holy Mass, where we become one with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, his very Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, his person becomes one with our person,” Bishop Matano said.

Leonor Rivera, of St. John of Rochester Parish in Fairport, observed that the Mass was extremely powerful.

“You are there seeing people who all believe in the real presence of Christ, participating together and in all different languages,” remarked Rivera, who traveled on the bus from Honeoye. “The power of us all joining together from all different places, it felt like a true pilgrimage.”

Thousands take part in eucharistic procession

In addition to the Mass, another high point of the congress’ second day was a eucharistic procession around the property of the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs. Although the forecast predicted rain during the procession, there was only a light drizzle as Father Michael Connolly and Jesuit Father Sean P. Hagerty of the Archdiocese of New York, and Father Bryan Stitt of the Diocese of Ogdensburg alternated carrying a monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament uphill on unpaved paths.

The procession was led by members of various religious orders, priests, deacons and bishops. The thousands gathered followed the Blessed Sacrament as it stopped at three altars around the shrine grounds for Gospel readings and hymns. As the monstrance passed by, the faithful reverently knelt on the wet, cold ground.

McCarron stood along the route, holding her St. Mary Church, Honeoye, NY sign, as the Blessed Sacrament passed.

“That (the eucharistic procession) was the highlight for me,” said McCarron, who noted she hasn’t participated in a eucharistic procession since her college days. “It was very nice to participate in that.”

Congress draws to a close

Saturday’s events concluded with a talk on fostering eucharistic love within the family, presented by Katie Prejean McGrady, host of the Katie McGrady Show on the Catholic Channel on Sirius XM radio, and Franciscan Father Malachy Napier speaking on St. Francis of Assisi and the furnace of charity.

Sunday’s agenda featured three more keynote talks, including one by Lisa Lickona, an assistant professor of systematic theology at Pittsford’s St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry, on the lives of American female saints.

The congress concluded with a Mass for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time celebrated by Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of the Diocese of Albany.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Stay tuned next week for more stories, photos and videos from the New York Eucharistic Congress!

Tags: Eucharistic Revival
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