PHOTOS: Jesus crosses the Golden Gate Bridge at start of National Eucharistic Pilgrimage

000-SF NEC Archbishop Cordileone and the faithful from the Archdiocese of San Francisco process across the Golden Gate Bridge in the historic first eucharistic pilgrimage to the National Eucharistic Congress. | Credit: Jeffrey Bruno

I’d never been to California. There’s no particular reason. It’s just that I’ve never been.

My opinions about the Golden State are based on movies like “Dirty Harry” and “Point Break,” which I like very much. And then there’s Columbo.

All that, but then, the headlines about the societal crises facing California problems… Not loving the news part.

So, when I landed late Saturday night in San Francisco, I had no actual knowledge of the place. Bleary-eyed, I piloted my rental car over a freeway and on unfamiliar roads to a nice hotel a few blocks from the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption.

I was there to cover the launch of the western route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, the St. Junipero Serra Route.

I always joked with my wife, Alicia, that the reason I’ve never been to California is that if I went, I might never come back. And now, having spent a whopping 19 hours here… well, let’s just say the joke might be based on some truth.

Despite all of its problems, San Francisco is amazing. But I digress.

To be in a new city among faithful Catholics makes one feel right at home. And especially on the feast of Pentecost, the birthday of the Church.

It was beautiful, serene, and surreal to experience all of this on the day of the launch of the Eucharistic pilgrimages.

Until it wasn’t.

We (the media types) departed the cathedral along with the first procession to a nearby church where the Blessed Sacrament would be placed in a special vehicle that would take Christ to the Golden Gate Bridge, where he would be carried across in a procession.

When we arrived at the bridge, we received the most unwelcome news that any photographer or videographer could receive.

“They left.”

The procession departed without us.

We looked at one another in shock and panic, knowing that all of our sponsoring agencies wanted THAT shot. Without discussion or consensus, we all began sprinting toward the towering bridge.

The procession was nowhere to be seen, blocked by countless hundreds of tourists and those in procession.

We ran. We weaved. We apologetically plowed through the crowds.

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And at about mid-span…

My eyes fell upon him, and gratitude filled my heart and soul.

Perhaps it’s a metaphor of sorts.

We were pursuing Christ.

Certainly, for the photo.

But maybe also so I could share this story.

We pursue him.

(Story continues below)

But we don’t need to, because he pursues us.

We need only to stop and turn to him.

If only we would.

I can’t tell you how many times he’s “showed up” when I needed him…

Which is always.

But if only we stop and turn to him.

It’s Pentecost.

It’s the beginning of the nationwide Eucharistic pilgrimages.

I’ll leave it at this.

You are loved beyond your wildest dreams.

You are pursued by the One who breathed life into your soul.

So stop.

Stop and turn to him.

And then run to his open arms.

Because our relationship with him is all that matters.

Period.

San Francisco’s growing on me. The climate seems nice. The hills are interesting. And I do love the bay…

But more than that, any place that brings me crashing into an encounter with Christ’s love?

Yep, sign me up for that.

The cathedral was filled to capacity. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno
The cathedral was filled to capacity. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno
Religious men and women from several orders were present for the Mass and pilgrimage. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno
Religious men and women from several orders were present for the Mass and pilgrimage. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno
A new Mass setting, composed by Frank La Rocca, "Missa Pange Lingua: A Mass for Eucharistic Renaissance," premiered at the Mass. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno
A new Mass setting, composed by Frank La Rocca, "Missa Pange Lingua: A Mass for Eucharistic Renaissance," premiered at the Mass. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno
The sacred moment of Consecration — the reason everyone was gathered. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno
The sacred moment of Consecration — the reason everyone was gathered. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno
A young girl rests in her mother's arms. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno
A young girl rests in her mother's arms. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno
The scale of the cathedral gives a tiny sense of the grandeur of God. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno
The scale of the cathedral gives a tiny sense of the grandeur of God. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno
The faithful departing the cathedral line up for the historic Eucharistic pilgirmage. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno
The faithful departing the cathedral line up for the historic Eucharistic pilgirmage. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno
And the first leg of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage gets underway. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno
And the first leg of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage gets underway. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno
The pilgrimage winds its way through the streets of San Francisco. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno
The pilgrimage winds its way through the streets of San Francisco. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno
But they caught up. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno
But they caught up. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno
And joyfully took part in capturing the beauty and majesty of the moment. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno
And joyfully took part in capturing the beauty and majesty of the moment. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno
And conclude with Benediction. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno
And conclude with Benediction. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno
And the hundreds that joined the will be remembered for making history and being the first to follow in the unprecedented, historic, and breathtaking first leg of the St. Junipero Serra Eucharistic Pilgrimage. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno
And the hundreds that joined the will be remembered for making history and being the first to follow in the unprecedented, historic, and breathtaking first leg of the St. Junipero Serra Eucharistic Pilgrimage. Credit: Jeffrey Bruno

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