Body of Christ gathers for Eucharistic pilgrimage

Jun 6, 2024
As part of The Gift of Sacred Mystery Eucharistic Pilgrimage, celebrating the Feast of Corpus Christi, June 1, 2024, members representing the African community came in Eucharistic Adoration to honor the Lord. (GLENDA MEEKINS)

ORLANDO | People from as far as Brazil came to celebrate the Body of Christ on the feast of Corpus Christi and to take part in The Gift of Sacred Mystery: Eucharistic Pilgrimage at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe, June 1, 2024.

Starting with presentations on communion, participation and mission by Father Brian Campbell of the Diocese of Palm Beach, Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Kathleen Harmon, and Dr. Rosemary Laird, respectively, the morning continued with the celebration of Mass and Eucharistic Adoration. Representatives from countries around the world came forward in traditional dress to sing praises to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament after which each received a Benediction.

Bishop John Noonan receives the gifts brought forth by the Taolavera family for consecration. Visiting from São Paolo, Brazil, the Taolavera’s paused their vacation to participate in The Gift of Sacred Mystery Eucharistic Pilgrimage in recognition of the True Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. (LANA KACZMAREK)

The Taolavera family brought forth the gifts for consecration. In Orlando on vacation from São Paolo, Brazil, the family planned to attend the Eucharistic Pilgrimage as part of their celebration of Corpus Christi.

“The Eucharist is very important for us, and for our family, because we know the presence of the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Eucharist,” said Tatiana Taolavera.

Kathy Trinh, a parishioner of St. Philip Phan Van Minh Parish in Orlando, said she comes every year to give thanks to God for all He is in her life.

“For me, Eucharist represents the love He has for His people. He came because He is love. He came to earth and lived like we live. That is why He understands us,” she said. “Whenever I have a hard time, He understands and is always blessing me. This is why I come to visit Him before the altar.”

Trinh recalled a time when she knelt before the Blessed Sacrament asking God to allow her to feel His love. “My heart began to race as though it were going to come out of me,” she said. “I realized how God’s heart loves us in such a strong way.”

For Sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Reparatrix Concepta Najjemba of Blessed Trinity Parish in Ocala, Jesus is a lifelong friend.

Parishioners from St. Mary’s Syro-Malabar Parish in Sanford process with flowers for the Lord during Eucharistic Adoration on the Feast of Corpus Christi, June 1, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe. (GLENDA MEEKINS)

“He is my whole life,” she said noting how, as a child in Uganda, she went to the chapel every day. “I knew He was there, and I was attracted by that, even though I didn’t know what to say.”

She joined her religious order at the age of 14. The congregation spent time in Eucharistic Adoration every day. Slowly, she built a relationship with the Lord.

“And now He is a good friend, and I can’t wait to go to Church for Adoration,” said Sister Najjemba. “When I’m walking, He is also my companion. I share everything with Him. I ask Him for help, to lead me; I ask Him to take over.”

She said the Lord has helped her see Christ in everyone, especially the homeless for which she now cares. The consecrated religious hopes the National Eucharistic Congress this summer in Indianapolis and this Eucharistic Revival through 2025 will continue to bring others close to Christ, for it is in knowing Him that she has found her greatest joy.

In his homily, Bishop John Noonan quoted the French Jesuit Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin who said, “Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.”

Father Kenny Aquino raises the monstrance and blesses the people as the Filipino community sings to the Lord on the Feast of Corpus Christi, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe in Orlando, June 1. (LANA KACZMAREK)

Bishop Noonan said, “I ask myself more than anything else is, do we allow the Lord into our lives? Yes, we receive Him, but are we aware that we are receiving Christ? We receive the Eucharist, but do we allow the Lord in the intimate parts of our lives — in the decisions we make every day, in the questions we have about life… Do we allow Him to help us find peace — to help us make the decision to do the right thing, to guide us, show us the way, teach us the truth, give us the life?”

He encouraged those gathered to spend more time with the Lord and invited them: “Receive Him and let Him into your life that you may know Him, love and serve Him with your life.”

To view The Gift of Sacred Mystery Speaker Presentations, click here.

By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic staff, June 6, 2024