I traveled this weekend to San Francisco, California, for the kickoff event of a Eucharistic pilgrimage, which is now walking from San Fran to Indianapolis, where it will converge with three other walking pilgrimages, all heading to this July’s national Eucharistic Congress event.

I’m writing now the account of the kickoff for the “Serra Route” pilgrimage in San Francisco, and I’m trying to do the day, and the people I spoke with, justice. I hope to finish it today, Tuesday, and publish it very soon.

There were about 4,000 people who walked across the Golden Gate Bridge on Sunday, processing behind the Eucharist in prayer, including this Nevada newlywed couple, who showed up at the procession in marching sneakers and cute saint socks:

Of course, on the bridge, there were a LOT of pilgrims who came up to me, asking if they could film me falling down and doing a barrel roll on the ground. They remembered my “moment of triumph” from a walking Eucharistic pilgrimage last summer, and were hoping I’d recreate it on the Golden Gate Bridge.

I didn’t.

Why not? Well, dignity, first of all — I try to exhibit just a little bit of dignity when I can, unless I can somehow get more Pillar subscribers out of the deal.

But also because I was terrified on the Golden Gate Bridge. One side of the narrow sidewalk was a potential drop of 200 feet, a fall from which no one, practically no one, survives. On the other side was traffic barrelling along at 65 miles an hour. And to make things interesting, the winds were howling that day — at least that’s how it felt to a landlubber like me.

I was anxious about tumbling off the bridge even with the stainless steel mesh safety nets installed at the bridge earlier this year. In fact, I only got close to the edge once, when the bridge was still over dry land, and only to take this photo:

You can see that the bridge crossing is pretty high up. Dizzying, really. So you can understand why I opted not to flop onto the ground for my readers’ amusement in those circumstances. Plus, I didn’t have any way to be sure they’d become subscribers…

Anyway, when the pilgrims got across the bridge, they prayed together, as Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone blessed them with the sacred Eucharistic host.

And they sang together:

But before all that, in the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, a kickoff Mass debuted an extraordinarily beautiful Mass setting — the “Mass for Eucharistic Renaissance,” by composer Frank La Rocca.

There were parts of the choral Mass which I didn’t record for you because I was too swept up in their sublime beauty to remember my job.

I have been professionally covering Masses for some time now — I have done so on five continents, in rare historic circumstances ranging from the clandestine home Masses of Covid to a papal funeral presided over by a pontiff.

But even while I cover Masses professionally a lot (and try to attend Mass several times a week), there are often moments in the Eucharistic sacrifice which just knock me off my feet, so to speak.

Ours is a faith of beauty, pointing to the source and cause of beauty itself.

Please be assured of my prayers, guys. And please pray for us, we need it.

Yours in Christ,

JD Flynn
The Pillar

From The Pillar