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National Eucharistic Pilgrimage Comes to Emmitsburg and to Campus

Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'20

Aerial view of campus

The Mount St. Mary’s University and Emmitsburg communities are gearing up for the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, which will visit the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton as well as Mount St. Mary’s University, Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Saint Anthony Shrine and the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes on Thursday, June 6.

Mother SetonThe National Eucharistic Pilgrimage began on May 18 and 19, as a part of the National Eucharistic Revival, a three-year-long effort that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) began in 2022 to inspire greater love for and belief in the Real Presence of Christ in American Catholics.

The Pilgrimage has four routes, each named after regional saints: the St. Junipero Serra Route began in San Francisco; the St. Juan Diego route in San Juan, Texas; the Marian Route in Minnesota; and the St. Elizabeth Seton Route in New Haven, Connecticut.

Along the way, priests and small groups of young lay people are accompanying the Eucharist, stopping for Masses, Adoration and events as each group heads to Indianapolis for the National Eucharistic Congress that will take place from July 17 to 21.

Emmitsburg is part of the Seton Route, and Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton’s shrine will welcome her namesake pilgrimage route with Mass at 8:30 a.m., celebrated by Archbishop William Lori, S’77.

IC ChapelImmediately after, Archbishop Lori will lead pilgrims in an hourlong Eucharistic procession through Emmitsburg, with stops for prayer at Mother Seton School, the Seton Center, and St. Joseph Catholic Church.

At 1:30 p.m., the group will begin a “Walk in Mother Seton’s Footsteps,” on a 3.5-mile route from the Seton Shrine to the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. Mother Seton and her fellow Sisters of Charity would often walk this way to pray at the site of what is now the National Shrine Grotto. Prayer stops will be made at the university’s Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, Mount St. Mary’s Seminary and St. Anthony’s Shrine.

The Pilgrimage’s visit to Emmitsburg and the name of the eastern route are meaningful to the Mount because of the University and Seminary’s connections to Seton.

Mount St. Mary's SeminarySeton arrived in Emmitsburg in the early 19th century, after the Rev. John DuBois, a French refugee and Sulpician priest who founded the Mount and its seminary. Seton and DuBois supported and encouraged each other as each sought to introduce Catholic education to the U.S. The Rev. Simon Brute, another Sulpician priest who was an early leader of the Mount and later a bishop in Indiana, also became close with Seton, serving as a mentor to her and a spiritual director to the Sisters of Charity.

“Emmitsburg was Mother Seton's home, and the Mount was the place where she first lodged when she arrived in the area. This is why the stop is so significant. At the Mount we welcome all pilgrims just as Fr. Dubois, our founder, and St. Elizabeth Seton welcomed seminarians, students, and religious sisters to the educational institutions they established in Emmitsburg,” noted Rev. Msgr. Andrew Baker, STD, the rector of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary.

National Shrine GrottoSeton and her religious sisters attended Mass at the church of St. Mary on the Hill, DuBois’s parish and where Mount St. Mary’s Seminary took its name.

The National Shrine Grotto is now located where this church was, and there is still a sign at the Grotto marking the large rock that Seton would often sit on as she taught Sunday school to parish children.

Seton and the sisters in her new religious order started St. Joseph Free School on the campus of the present-day Seton Shrine, a school for girls that later became St. Joseph College, the Mount’s sister college that closed in 1972, and Mother Seton School, a Catholic elementary school that still operates in Emmitsburg.

To celebrate and welcome participating alumni, the university’s Office of Advancement will host a gathering on the veranda of Bradley Hall once the procession ends at 4 p.m. A Mass will be held in the Glass Chapel at the National Shrine Grotto at 5 p.m.

To learn more about the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, and to see the schedule of the June 6 visit to Emmitsburg, as well as the schedules of stops in Westminster, Maryland on June 5 and Baltimore on June 7, visit National Eucharistic Pilgrimage - Official Website.

Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'20