National Eucharistic Pilgrimage’s journey through Northwest Indiana

National Eucharistic Pilgrimage’s journey through Northwest Indiana

Historic walking pilgrimage travels through Northwest Indiana

On July 1 the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, a historic walking journey with Jesus in the Eucharist, arrived in Northwest Indiana for a dynamic and diverse five-day excursion through the Diocese of Gary.

Father Declan McNicholas, director of missionary discipleship and evangelization for the Diocese of Gary, was thrilled with the outpouring of people who joined in processions and activities during the week.  “At a time when reports of polarization and division burden our hearts, this was a great consolation -- seeing the faithful and people from the community come together and worship our Lord.”

Highlights of Events around the Diocese 

Over five days, more than 5000 people welcomed the National Eucharistic Pilgrams to Northwest Indiana. Activities included Masses, processions, adorations, witness talks, fireworks and a party on the beach. 

Monday, July 1 | Whiting

More than 500 faithful of Northwest Indiana joyfully received the National Eucharistic Pilgrims at St. Mary Byzantine Church in Whiting on Monday, July 1.

The church was open throughout the day for private prayer and confessions.

The faithful joined in a procession to Lake Michigan where Bishop McClory presided over a Benediction service. The evening concluded with a grand celebration overlooking the Chicago skyline.

Tuesday, July 2 | Schererville - Portage - Gary/Miller Beach 

After celebrating Mass at St. Michael in Schererville, the pilgrims engaged in the longest procession of any NER pilgrimage route, traveling 14 miles with the Eucharist through Schererville to Portage.

Evening prayer was celebrated at St. Mary of the Lake parish in the Miller section of Gary. The evening featured great food and diverse music and choirs with hymns sung in several languages and styles including English, Spanish, Tagalog, Gospel and contemporary Christian music sung by young adults. 

Wednesday, July 3 | Portage - Chesterton - Valparaiso

After gathering for Mass at Nativity of Our Savior Parish in Portage, pilgrims accompanied the Eucharistic Lord in a four-hour procession through the Duneland Trail, ending at St. Patrick Church in Chesterton. 

An estimated 500 people joined in a Eucharistic Procession through downtown Valparaiso traveling from St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Student Center and ending at St. Paul Catholic Church for Evening Prayer.

Thursday, July 4 | Michigan City 

The day started at Queen of All Saints in Michigan City, where 600 faithful gathered for Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, opportunities for confession, and a beautiful witness talk by pilgrim Danielle Schmitz. 

The community proceeded to Franciscan Hospital where the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration guided the faithful, laying down flowers before the Eucharistic Lord, as the pilgrims made their way into the building for adoration and prayer for the sick and their care providers.  

Sister Petra Nielsen, OSF, of Franciscan Health in Michigan City was thrilled to host the national pilgrims at the hospital. “This is the first time that we have had a Eucharistic Procession, Christ in the Eucharist, processing from all four borders of our country, converging in Indianapolis. And they’re stopping here.”  

Thursday, July 4 | St. John - Mass - Procession - Adoration - Rosary with Relevant Radio - Fireworks

On the evening of July 4, the pilgrims joined the faithful to celebrate our Eucharistic Lord in the landscape of our Independence Day!

Bishop McClory celebrated Mass at St. John the Evangelist before processing through the Shrine of Christ's Passion with more than 1,500 people in attendance. 

The Eucharistic Procession ended at Our Lady of Guadalupe plaza where there was praise and worship music, the Family Rosary Across America with Fr. Rocky Hoffman and Bishop McClory, and Benediction.

Following the time of prayer, there was a stunning fireworks celebration and drone show at the Shrine of Christ’s Passion.  

Friday, July 5 | LaPorte - Rolling Prairie

More than 400 gathered for Mass at Sacred Heart Church before walking with a Eucharistic Procession through the streets of LaPorte to St. Joseph Church. 

The pilgrims then traveled to St. John Kanty in the farming community of Rolling Prairie where 80 faithful gathered for mid-day prayer before sending the national pilgrims to their next diocesan destination, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame in South Bend.

Back story

The National Eucharistic Pilgrimage began in May on Pentecost Sunday from four different routes at the four extremes of the United States – the north, south, east, and west. The Marian Route began at the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Northern Minnesota with priests and a small group of young adults, called “perpetual pilgrims,” accompanying Jesus in the Eucharist on this extensive procession to Indianapolis for the opening of the National Eucharistic Congress July 17. 

When traveling short distances, the Eucharist is exposed in a gold stand called a monstrance where it can be seen and adored. When traveling longer distances on the pilgrimage, the Eucharist is reserved in a gold box called a tabernacle in a van specially designed for the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage. Catholics believe that the Eucharist, consecrated during Mass, is no longer bread, nor merely symbolic, but is the Body of Christ.

When the pilgrims converge with pilgrims walking the other routes to the National Eucharistic Congress, they will be met by an anticipated crowd of over 50,000 faithful from around the country.

About the Diocese of Gary

The Diocese of Gary serves an estimated 170,000 Catholics in Lake, Porter, LaPorte and Starke counties through 58 parishes, two missions and one Catholic student center. The diocese has 17 parish elementary schools and three diocesan high schools, serving 5,982 students. An additional 5,342 students are enrolled in parish Catholic formation programs. The diocese is home to two post-secondary institutions. More than two million are served by Catholic-affiliated agencies, including seven Catholic hospitals, residential and daycare facilities for adults and children, and centers for Social Services. Learn more at dcgary.org.