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ALTON - The historic National Eucharistic Pilgrimage will pass through Alton on Tuesday, July 9, 2024, and the community is invited to join the Mass and welcome the procession to town.

Sister M. Beata Ziegler, FSGM, Vice President of Support Services at OSF St. Anthony’s Health Center, explained that the Blessed Sacrament has traveled from the four corners of the U.S. since May. The paths will convene in Indianapolis for the National Eucharistic Congress later this month. On July 9, the procession will come through Alton and stop for services.

“This really has been a long-term project in the church to really focus on the Eucharist, and that is Jesus’s presence with us in the Blessed Sacrament,” Ziegler explained.

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At 8 a.m. on July 9, there will be a Mass at St. Peter and Paul Parish, followed by a benediction at St. Francis Convent Chapel. The procession will then continue to St. Mary’s Catholic Church.

The Eucharist is expected to arrive at 9:15 a.m. at St. Francis Convent, where there will be flower petals, banners and canopies to welcome the procession to Alton. The Eucharist will proceed up the stairs into the chapel, and the Sisters will provide a service with singing, scripture and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

The public is invited to join the procession or the services at any point; as Ziegler said, “the more the merrier.” She noted that those in the procession often pray the rosary or litanies.

As Ziegler pointed out, the goal of the Eucharist Pilgrimage is to “show how the entire nation is wrapped and follows the way of the cross.” She hopes to see many community members in Alton on July 9. She also said that the convent’s Adoration chapel is open every day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. for Eucharistic Adoration, and anyone is welcome.

“The charism of our community is to make Christ’s merciful love visible,” she added. “If people just open their hearts, I think the Lord has a plan for every person that can be touched in our community here in Alton, and so just to really pray that we’re all open to whatever blessings that He has for our community in particular.”

For more information about the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, you can visit EucharisticPilgrimage.org.

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