June 26, 2024 // National

Paying a Visit to the Patroness of the Marian Route

Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever!

This past week, the Marian Route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage passed through the Diocese of Green Bay and visited the patroness of our route, Our Lady of Champion, at her shrine in Wisconsin. How perfect it was that exactly halfway through this pilgrimage we went and visited the place where Our Lady called America to a life of missionary discipleship, adherence to the teaching of the Catholic faith, and devotion to the truth of Jesus’ real presence in the Eucharist – a mission that is very much at the forefront of this pilgrimage.

Danielle Schmitz
Pilgrims kneel in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament on the Marian Route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage.

The day we spent at Champion was particularly special not just because we were visiting a Marian apparition site but also because the nine-mile procession we had leading to Champion was a private procession with just the perpetual pilgrims and our chaplains. As we walked, it was just the 12 of us and Jesus. Each of us had the chance to hold the umbrellino over Our Lord and have a time of profoundly intimate face-to-face prayer with Jesus as He was processed in the monstrance. While one of us was speaking with Jesus, the rest of us shared testimony, laughed, and rejoiced with one another. During this procession, all I could think of was all the moments in Scripture where it said that Jesus and the disciples would walk from town to town, and how we were living out that reality during that procession – how Our Lord had chosen His 12 and somehow I was a part of it.

When we arrived in Champion, Jesus was met by thousands, all there just for Him. After Mass, we had a two-mile procession around the apparition site, and at the end of the procession, the pilgrims and I had the chance to visit the crypt and pray where Our Lady appeared. The goodness of our Father was evident, as during our visit, there were only a handful of people praying in the crypt, and we had the opportunity to pray in silence with Our Lady. While at the apparition site, I felt convicted of the same message that was given to Adele Brise, who saw the Virgin 165 years ago. In so many ways, our country is still the “wild” nation Our Lady spoke of, the children of our country are still in need of fruitful catechesis, and it is still important that we offer our Communion at Mass for the conversion of sinners.

I pray that as we continue this pilgrimage, our Eucharistic Lord will hear Our Lady of Champion’s plea for the conversion of our nation, and that He will move through the people He encounters so that they can be a part of Our Lady’s mission.

Our Lady of Champion, pray for us!

As Jesum Per Mariam,
Danielle Schmitz

Paul’s Pantry and Providing a Cartful of Dignity

By Mason Bailey

Greetings in Christ!

I’m writing on Monday, June 24, from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee during a brief lunch period at Sacred Heart Seminary in Franklin, Wisconsin. We are visiting eight parishes today as we prepare to enter the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Besides Eucharistic processions, Holy Hours, and Masses, we, as perpetual pilgrims, participate in service projects every Saturday. One such project was at Paul’s Pantry in Green Bay, Wisconsin. At first glance, Paul’s Pantry appears to be your average food pantry, helping give food to those in need. But this is not the case. Paul’s Pantry has taken up the mission of emphasizing the Christian truth of the dignity of the human person. The pantry is run as the equivalent of a mom-and-pop grocery store, where each customer in need can take a shopping cart through the store and pick and choose what items they would like. Every item is free, although there is a limit to how much each customer can take. This is all to give back a sense of dignity and respect to each person who walks through the doors. People don’t merely get what they need, but they get to choose what they want. This is so that, even for a half an hour, they can forget their circumstances and be empowered.

I was surprised at how many people lined up around the building in the morning just to come inside and wait for their turn to shop. I helped manage customers’ carts after they emptied their groceries into their cars, taxis, or bicycles. It was incredibly rewarding to see how happy the people were, as I was the final person to see them before they’d leave. People who came hungry or empty left filled and renewed. This is what the Eucharistic Revival is all about!

I was able to play a small part in the truly Eucharistic mission of Paul’s Pantry: forming a communion of dignity rooted in Christ and feeding the hungry – not just with physical food but with the joy of the Gospel being lived out.

Pax Christi,
Mason Bailey

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