By Steven Filizzola
BRIDGEPORT—Shortly after his resurrection, Jesus accompanied two disciples on their journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus, walking with them in their grief, offering hope and finally revealing himself through the breaking of the bread.
From this Gospel account, often cited by Bishop Frank J. Caggiano as he seeks to renew the diocese, comes the diocesan 2024 Eucharistic Procession to be held this spring.
Over the past several months, Bishop Caggiano and diocesan leaders have been planning the diocesan Eucharistic Procession, which is a leg in the larger National Eucharistic Pilgrimage concluding in the 2024 National Eucharistic Congress from July 17 to 21, 2024, in Indianapolis. It will be the first national congress held since 1941.
On May 19—Pentecost Sunday—the Blessed Sacrament will arrive in Bridgeport from the Archdiocese of Hartford. Thus begins the joyful and passionate 14-day celebration of the Holy Eucharist in our diocese.
Hundreds of faithful will march through the city of Bridgeport with Bishop Caggiano on the 19 to launch the procession in the diocese. There will also be Corpus Christi-style Eucharistic Stations and Adoration at five parishes.
Over the ensuing three days, the Blessed Sacrament pilgrimage will move through Fairfield, Ridgefield, Norwalk, Darien, Stamford, and Greenwich, and it will inspire a movement of Catholics who are healed, converted, formed, and unified by an encounter with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.
Beginning on Thursday, May 23 and for the nine days that follow, special events for all parishes will occur in every region within the diocese, including Adoration, Masses and processions. All parishes will have the opportunity to sponsor their own events or join in the regional celebrations.
More specifically, the diocesan procession will proceed through seven towns and 15 parishes, with days, afternoons and nights filled with Masses, local processions, Holy Hours, and Overnight Adoration. A Rosary procession will be held at St. John Cemetery in Norwalk and at St. Margaret Shrine in Bridgeport. Local town processions will take place in Ridgefield, Norwalk and Stamford, and several parishes will host processions on their campus. Each morning begins with the celebration of Mass, each evening ends with Overnight Adoration.
Events are designed to inspire all church faithful to attend and will engage school children, young adults, and all ethnic groups.
Throughout these two weeks, other events will take place to promote communal and individual prayer and offer opportunities to encounter the Holy Eucharist and experience truth, beauty, and goodness. Every parish and deanery, especially those that will not host the national procession, will sponsor their own spiritual events celebrating the mystery and beauty of the Eucharist.
The 14-day celebration will culminate on Saturday, June 1 with a Corpus Christi Eve Mass at Fairfield University. Over 3,000 religious and faithful are expected to attend this Mass celebrated by Bishop Caggiano. Further details will be announced as they become available.
National Eucharistic Procession
After the Eucharistic Procession departs the Diocese of Bridgeport, the national pilgrimage will continue through New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charlotte, N.C., Washington, and then cross the Appalachian Mountains into Pittsburgh, Ohio and Indiana. At the same time, three other processions will be underway from California, Texas, and Minnesota.
This Eucharistic Procession consists of the four processions travelling a combined 6,000 miles. Each procession will proceed through various dioceses, visit holy sites, shrines, cathedrals, and Catholic universities. After 60 days of travel, the four pilgrimages will converge in Indianapolis for the 10th National Eucharistic Congress. This five-day event begins on July 17, with over 80,000 Catholics expected to attend.
While the Eucharistic Procession concludes on June 1, in our diocese, it will serve to highlight the most important reason we have begun our work in support of “The One, ” Our goal is to provide growing opportunities for each of us to encounter the Lord through truth, beauty and goodness, fostering communities that accompany their members in personal discipleship and lead every believer to attend Sunday Mass each week. Very simply, “The One” is our commitment to focus every aspect of the Church on bringing individuals closer to the Lord and to know, love and serve him more deeply.
Through encountering our Lord Jesus Christ, and by embracing the truth, beauty, and goodness of our faith, we will, together, fall in love with God in the ultimate encounter with Christ: the Holy Eucharist and Sunday Mass. The three years that follow will be even more profound, as we accompany one another in the truth, beauty and goodness of our faith and draw ever closer to Our Lord.
Programs and ministries for school and parish leaders and faithful will be announced in the coming months. Guilds for various professions and ministries will be created, including catechists, ambassadors, and teachers. The new diocesan Assisi Center for Environmental Stewardship will be established, as will our Life Center and the St. Jerome Center for Preaching and Biblical Studies.
For more information on the Eucharistic Procession and the bishop’s “The One” (Eucharistic Renewal) please email: Sfilizzola@diobpt.com