Children accompany pilgrims on their route through Kentucky

Seven-year-old Azalie Cain, center, held her mother’s hand as she processed from St. Francis of Assisi Church to St. James Church in the Highlands neighborhood July 8. (Record Photo by Olivia Castlen)

On July 8, the Juan Diego Route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage made six stops across the city of Louisville, with three Eucharistic processions along the way.

The processions drew participants from every walk of life, from the youth to the elderly — and a lot of strollers, noted Shayla Elm, one of the pilgrims traveling with the Eucharist from Texas to Indianapolis, the southern route of the nationwide pilgrimage. Three other groups of pilgrims, who began in the west, east and north, will join them in Indianapolis next week.

Among the worshipers in Louisville July 8 was 7-year-old Azalie Cain, who, along with her parents and siblings, participated in a one-mile procession in the Highlands neighborhood from St. Francis of Assisi Church to St. James Church. 

Azalie said she didn’t think she’d been to St. James Church before the procession and that she spent her time in the church counting the angels on the church’s walls.

She also shared during an interview what she knows about Jesus: “He died on the cross. He rose from the dead. He was born in a stable. He was the son of God.” 

Azalie added that she was at the procession with “a lot of our friends” and that the pilgrimage would “show everybody him [Jesus]” and reveal to those who passed “that we’re Catholic.”

Felicity Carrico, age 12, said she was excited to participate in the Eucharistic pilgrimage. 

“I thought it was cool that it came to our parish [Our Lady and St. John],” she said, noting that she found the procession moving and inspiring and that she saw several other kids participating, which she did not expect. 

Felicity said that she has participated in a procession at her Catholic school, but that this one was different because it was in a public place. 

She hopes that the procession “gets people interested in what we’re doing,” and makes them question, “What is happening over there?” 

For those participating, Felicity added that she hopes it brings them “closer to Jesus and makes their faith stronger.” She added that she would participate again given the chance. 

Also among the crowd was 7-year-old Dominic Osting, who participated in a one-mile procession from St. James to the Shrine of St. Martin of Tours later on July 8 with his mother and siblings. 

Dominic, who is preparing to receive his First Holy Communion this year, explained in a recent interview that he has learned about his faith from his parents and that he was excited to “see Jesus” in the procession. “He heals people,” he said. 

Azalie Cain, right, helped Dominic Osting tighten his hat, providing shade as they waited in the summer heat for the next procession to begin in Louisville’s Highlands neighborhood. (Record Photo by Olivia Castlen)

Families have also been encouraged to participate in the National Eucharistic Congress, taking place July 17-21 in Indianapolis, which is the final destination of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage. 

The congress is offering special activities and set-aside spaces for families, including toddler play areas, discounted food options for families and the opportunity for first communicants to walk in the front of the procession in Indianapolis, accompanied by a parent.

Olivia Castlen
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Olivia Castlen
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