May 28, 2024 // Diocese

On Pilgrimage with Christ: Meet Mason Bailey

From July 5-10, the Marian Route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage will be making stops at parishes across the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. Throughout the pilgrimage, which began in Minnesota and will finish at the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis, two Perpetual Pilgrims – Danielle Schmitz, a student at The Catholic University of America, and Mason Bailey, a seminarian for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, will be writing for Today’s Catholic about their experiences on this once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage.

My name is Mason Bailey, and I am excited to share throughout these next several weeks my thoughts and experiences as I participate in the Marian Route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage. I am a native of Fort Wayne, and my home parish is Most Precious Blood. I attend St. Meinrad Seminary in southern Indiana, where I just completed my first year of philosophy studies. God willing, I will be ordained a priest for the diocese in 2029!

In preparing for this pilgrimage, I virtually met my fellow pilgrims and the incredible organizers of the pilgrimage, listening as they outlined the events for each diocese along the way. I’ve been incredibly impressed with their leadership and organization. It is no small feat to plan a thousand-mile journey across the Midwest! It also happens that one of my fellow pilgrims, Kai Weiss, and I attended college at the same time. Small world!

Provided by Mason Bailey
Mason Bailey and Danielle Schmitz are participating in the pilgrimage as part of the National Eucharistic Revival.

Physically, this route will be arduous, of course, but manageable. I see it as a considerable grace that I was able to participate in last year’s World Youth Day events in Lisbon, Portugal. We walked along miles of road to see Pope Francis and engage with Catholics from across the globe. Similarly, I will encounter thousands of Catholics from across the Midwest and witness the transformative power of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. This is a national, once-in-a-lifetime movement in the United States.

Spiritual preparation for the pilgrimage has been very good. Built into every day of seminary is time to adore Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. It’s encouragedato make a Holy Hour every day, even when you are tired after a long day of studying John Duns Scotus and Aquinas! Although, I must admit that I’ve rested with the Lord on more than one occasion. During these Holy Hours, I prayed for God’s grace to strengthen me on this pilgrimage and give me the ability to encounter people along the way.

My prayer for this pilgrimage, the National Eucharistic Congress, and the National Eucharistic Revival as a whole, is that the Church in the United States will be set ablaze with the fire of God’s love and His Holy Spirit. There is such a yearning in the human heart, especially in those of young people, that can only be filled by Christ. I saw it firsthand while in college. As a resident assistant, I walked with Christians of every stripe on their faith journeys. I look forward to ministering to all the people I meet along the way this summer. This pilgrimage has the opportunity to inspire many vocations and conversions. Please join me in praying for an increase in vocations in our diocese and in each one that the pilgrimage passes through.

It is a gift to be a seminarian for our diocese and to be able to represent the faithful of Fort Wayne-South Bend at each stop of the pilgrimage – from Bemidji, Minnesota, to Indianapolis for the National Eucharistic Congress. Know of my prayers for you as we process the Blessed Sacrament across the region. I hope you enjoy what my friend and fellow pilgrim, Danielle, has to say. She’s on fire for the Lord!

Pax Christi,
Mason Bailey

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