by Jack Figge
Special to The Leaven
Twists, turns and a changing schedule are part of the daily life of a pilgrim.
But there was one constant in the day-to-day life of those traveling to Portugal from northeast Kansas: the Eucharist.
Every day, the group participated in Mass — whether it be in a hotel ballroom, with thousands of pilgrims in Fátima or inside the gorgeous churches in Seixal.
During his homily at Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Conceição, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann preached on the importance of the Eucharist.
“After we receive Communion, we become living tabernacles,” said Archbishop Naumann. “That time after Communion is a special time, a powerful time when the Lord is uniquely present to us.”
Pope Francis also expressed the importance of devotion to the Eucharist while he prayed vespers with clergy on Aug. 2.
“Only in adoration, only in the presence of the Lord, do we truly rediscover our taste and passion for evangelization,” said Pope Francis. “Oddly enough, we have lost the prayer of adoration; and everyone — priests, bishops consecrated men and women — need to recover it, this ability to be quiet in the Lord’s presence.”
In an interview with The Leaven, Archbishop Naumann expressed the importance of the Eucharist while on pilgrimage.
“On a pilgrimage, you get hungry. You have to nourish yourself if you’re going to make an arduous journey,” he said. “That’s what our walk through this world is — an arduous journey.
“We need the spiritual food in the Eucharist to give us the nourishment to continue on this journey and pursue heaven.”
Pilgrims like Andrea Moya from St. Paul Parish in Olathe found that daily Mass and regular eucharistic adoration provided an opportunity to recenter her day and momentarily escape the chaotic nature of World Youth Day.
“The Eucharist is important for a pilgrimage because it is a reminder of receiving new life from Jesus, and that is a big motivator to keep going,” said Moya. “It is a reminder of the joy that we are meant to share with one another.”
To view the full album of photos from World Youth Day, click here.