2024 National Eucharistic Congress Announces Perpetual Pilgrims To Serve in Multi-Route Pilgrimage

Twenty-four young adult missionaries selected for unique role in National Eucharistic Pilgrimage

Denver, CO, March 11, 2024—The National Eucharistic Congress issued a call last October for young Catholics to apply in service as Perpetual Pilgrims along the four distinct routes destined for the 10th National Eucharistic Congress this summer in Indianapolis, IN.  After sifting through more than 100 applications and conducting multiple rounds of interviews and follow-up screenings, the National Eucharistic Congress is pleased to announce the core group of 24 individuals who have been selected to accompany Jesus in the Eucharist for the full duration of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage taking place May 17 to July 16, 2024.  These Perpetual Pilgrims will travel a combined distance of over 6,500 miles, stopping at many holy sites along this unprecedented coast-to-coast pilgrimage modeled after the Gospel account of Jesus’ journey to Emmaus two millennia ago.

  • The Serra Route, which will begin in San Francisco, CA, will be traveled by Chima Adiole, Chas East, Patrick Fayad, Jack Krebs, Madison Michel, and Jaella Mac Au.
  • The Marian Route kicks off in Bemidji, MN and will be followed by Sarah Cahill, Matthew Heidenreich, Danielle Schmitz, Jennifer Torres, Kai Weiss, and Megan Zaleski.
  • The Seton Route Perpetual Pilgrims are Dominic Carstens, Zoe Dongas, Marina Frattaroli, Natalie Garza, Amayrani Higueldo, and Christopher Onyiuke.  This route will begin in New Haven, CT.
  • The Juan Diego Route starts in Brownsville, TX and will be accompanied by Camille Anigbogu, Shayla Elm, Issy Martin Dye, Charlie McCullough, Joshua Velasquez, and MacKenzie Warrens.

This diverse representation of young people, who hail from both coasts and many states in between, gathered for an intensive three-day retreat over Presidents’ Day weekend at the NET Center in St. Paul, MN.  Spiritual formation and training was offered by Bishop Andrew Cozzens, Chair of the National Eucharistic Revival, priests with extensive media and pilgrimage experience, and National Eucharistic Congress staff.

“I am humbled by the commitment demonstrated by those selected to serve as Perpetual Pilgrims this summer,” said Will Peterson, President and Founder of Modern Catholic Pilgrim, the official pilgrimage partner of the National Eucharistic Congress.  “Their excitement at serving as stewards of this unprecedented National Eucharistic Pilgrimage shook the walls at our kickoff retreat. I cannot wait for the rest of the U.S. Catholic Church to walk with our Eucharistic Lord alongside these amazing individuals.”

More than half of the Perpetual Pilgrims are graduate or undergraduate students while others are already serving in mission-oriented apostolates and nonprofits.  A common thread for all was a profound encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist that they were inspired to share with others.

Shayla Elm, part of the Juan Diego team, works as a Community Engagement Manager for a non-profit organization that serves the homeless community in Denver.  She said, “I am eager to be a Perpetual Pilgrim, as I have been set on fire by our Eucharistic Lord. This pilgrimage will be a witness to our age that Jesus is real, that He wants to know you personally, and that the Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Christ. I hope that this pilgrimage invites many participants to encounter Him on the way.”

Kai Weiss, a German native who is currently a graduate student in theology in Washington, D.C. and part of the Marian team, said, “This will be a once-in-a-life adventure! On one hand, I'm excited to participate in this pilgrimage because it will be a unique experience to approach Jesus in the Eucharist more closely. We will walk with Him all day every day for two straight months - when does that ever happen? On the other hand, I hope that Jesus can sanctify this land through the procession and bring this polarized country closer together once more."  

Pilgrims on each of the four routes will be accompanied by a rotating cadre of 30 Franciscan Friars of the Renewal with consistent chaplaincy by Fr. Roger Landry for the Seton Route.  Each day will be rooted in celebration of the Mass with a general schedule consisting of major solemn procession on Sundays, with Mass and smaller processions at parishes during the week.  Pilgrims will travel 10-15 miles each day while taking part in a minor Eucharistic procession.  A support vehicle will transport pilgrims for legs of the journey in which safety, terrain, and/or climate may present obstacles.  In addition to daily Mass, parishes along the way will host Adoration, 40 Hours devotions, praise and worship services, lectures on the Eucharist, pilgrim testimonies, meals, and fellowship. Biblical hospitality will be offered on the routes via host families, parishes, religious orders, schools, shrines, and retreat centers.

In order to apply as a Perpetual Pilgrim, one needed to be a baptized and practicing Catholic between the ages of 19-29, in good physical condition, capable of walking long distances, and committed to upholding the teachings of the Catholic Church.  Ministry background with service, leadership, and pilgrimage experience were of special interest.  

The Perpetual Pilgrims receive weekly Zoom formation sessions with theology faculty from the Augustine Institute, National Eucharistic Congress Chief Executive Officer Tim Glemkowski, experts on the patron saints of the routes, Carmelites discussing prayer, and a deacon with special expertise in organizing Eucharistic processions.

Members of the media are invited to meet four of the Perpetual Pilgrims at a special virtual press conference on March 21 at 2:00 p.m. EDT.  To register for this event, learn more about the Perpetual Pilgrims, and access a complete press kit, visit

Shayla Elm, Kai Weiss, and a select representation of Perpetual Pilgrims are available for comment.  Amayrani Higueldo is available for Spanish-language requests.  To schedule an interview, contact Carrie Kline at