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    National Eucharistic Pilgrimage rolls through northeast Wisconsin

    By Paul Steeno,


    SHAWANO, Wis. (WFRV) – One of the largest Eucharistic pilgrimages in history continues to roll through northeast Wisconsin this week.

    Local 5 News caught up with the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage in Cecil in Shawano County on Wednesday afternoon. The procession began at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Parish and made its way to the village’s park and boat ramp. A person holding a cross led the way and a local pastor held a monstrance as people following behind sang hymns.

    “We want to revive or give new life to people’s belief in the Eucharist that it is actually Jesus’ body and blood soul and divinity,” said Father Michael Thiel who is a local pastor and a chaplain for the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage.

    The journey through Cecil is a small snapshot of a long journey to Indianapolis. The pilgrimage began in Minnesota last month and will finally reach Indianapolis on July 16 after making numerous additional stops in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana.

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    There are actually four pilgrimage routes that are part of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage and they’ll all converge in Indianapolis on July 16.

    On Wednesday in Cecil, Father Thiel did a short blessing and prayer in Cecil Park. Over 100 people from the community came out to witness the pilgrimage and take part in the blessing.

    “It’s been great just to notice people’s faces and just the wonder and the awe,” said Thiel.

    Laura Ustanovska and her five children came all the way from Oconomowoc to take part in the procession on Wednesday.

    “I was glad for them to be here with me, and feel the solidarity of our tradition and our history reaffirming that Jesus is the Eucharist bringing that out to the the streets and the people,” she said.

    After finishing up the prayer and blessing, Father Thiel and others in the procession hopped on boats for a quick lap around the lake. Over a dozen boats joined them on the water.

    They finished up their evening by walking to Camp Tekakwitha where dozens of kids were waiting to welcome them.

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    For some, they’re on this pilgrimage for the long haul. On each route of the pilgrimage, there are ‘perpetual pilgrims’ who are going on the entire route from Minnesota to Indianapolis.

    Kai Weiss is originally from Germany but lives in Washington D.C. now and is one of those perpetual pilgrims.

    “It’s just so wonderful to spend so much time with Jesus and have the Eucharist truly present,” he said.

    Each step on the pilgrimage is a chance for all those involved to grow in their faith, and there’s going to be plenty of steps between here and that final destination in Indianapolis.

    To track the pilgrims on their journey to Indianapolis or to find out where they’re stopping, please click here .

    “Just that feeling that you are part of the true church, it’s solid stick with it your whole life,” said Ustanovska when asked what she hopes her children take away from seeing and being part of the procession.

    She says she plans to catch the procession again when they make their way closer to Oconomowoc.

    Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to WFRV Local 5 - Green Bay, Appleton.

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