Gary faithful urged to attend one-day trip to Eucharistic Congress

MERRILLVILLE – Bishop Robert J. McClory and other Diocese of Gary leaders are urging the Catholic faithful to take advantage of a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to gather in praise and prayer during the diocesan one-day trip to the National Eucharistic Congress this summer.
The “Diocesan Day” is being organized by the Diocese of Gary on Saturday, July 20, the fourth day of the five-day NEC that is taking place at Lucas Oil Stadium and the adjacent Indianapolis Convention Center downtown.
“If you can’t come for the entire week (Wednesday, July 17- Sunday, July 21), at least attend for one day, on Saturday,” urged Father Declan McNicholas, diocesan director of Missionary Discipleship and Evangelization and the Lay Ecclesial Ministry Program as well as associate pastor at St. John the Evangelist in St. John. “Transportation will be available and you’ll have the opportunity to be part of something that encompasses the whole U.S.”
Bishop McClory will attend Diocesan Day with his flock and is encouraging as many Northwest Indiana faithful as possible to join him for prayer, reflection, inspiration and the opportunity to grow closer to the Eucharist and deepen their relationship with Christ.
The day’s schedule (reflecting Indianapolis time) includes English, Spanish and youth Masses at 8:30 a.m., followed by morning impact sessions featuring speakers geared to six separate tracks – Encounter (general), Encuentro (Spanish language), Empower (offering Eucharistic missionary tools), Renewal (ministry workers and volunteers), Cultivate (families) and Awaken (high school youth) from 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Following a lunch break, afternoon breakout and event experiences at 2 p.m. will be tailored to specific groups and interests. The NEC will also offer an exhibit hall and a display of a replica of the Shroud of Turin, art exhibits, opportunities for confession and adoration, and musical performances.
A highlight of the day, themed “This is My Body,” will be a Eucharistic Procession through downtown Indianapolis scheduled for 3-5 p.m. Pilgrims are welcome to join or watch the procession, described by Joel Stepanek, NEC vice president of programming and administration, as “a profoundly impactful experience.
“A lot of folks who will be out on a Saturday afternoon in downtown Indianapolis will encounter the Lord and will receive the witness that we have, as a Catholic community, of prayer and joy,” he said. “It's really one of the biggest outward-facing pieces of the congress.”
A 90-minute dinner break begins at 5 p.m., followed by a Family Rosary Across America back in the stadium at 6:30 p.m.
The evening revival at 7 p.m. includes speakers Bishop Robert E. Barron, bishop of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester in Minnesota, best-selling author and the founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries; Mother Adela Galindo, founder of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary religious order and lay Apostles of the Pierced Hearts; and Gloria Purvis, host of “The Gloria Purvis Podcast.”
Musician Matt Maher will lead worship. “He is a Grammy-nominated Christian musician and he is really talented,” said Victoria Hathaway, diocesan coordinator for Youth and Young Adults and primary contact for the one-day event. “There are going to be some outstanding musical performers, and I’m really looking forward to hearing Matt.”
One of Saturday’s impact speakers is Dr. Edward Sri, a theologian, best-selling author, and well-known international Catholic speaker. He holds a doctorate from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome and is an adjunct professor at the Augustine Institute. Dr. Sri is a founding leader of FOCUS, where he currently serves as senior vice president of Apostolic Outreach. “He is a very good speaker on the Eucharist,” noted Hathaway.
Hathaway also spoke highly of one of the Spanish session impact speakers, Bishop Joseph A. Espaillat, II, the first Dominican-born auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of New York. Growing up in Manhattan, he learned to speak three languages: “English, Spanish and Street.” He loves ministering the sacraments, celebrating Mass and proclaiming the Word of God. “He is the second youngest bishop in the world and was a dynamic speaker at the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC),” said Hathaway. “His approach to the truth of Jesus is very relatable to young people.”
The Diocese of Gary has arranged for 10 coach buses to transport up to 500 local residents to the one-day trip to the congress. The bus cost is $25 per person and registration is available at Buses will leave Our Lady of Consolation in Merrillville at 5:30 a.m. (DST) and make a stop in Lafayette for beverages/breakfast before finishing the trip with a convenient drop-off at Lucas Oil Stadium. Buses will return to OLC at about midnight. 
All bus riders must also purchase a single weekend day pass to the National Eucharistic Congress events (at at a cost of $125 for adults 19 and older and $80 for teenagers. Children 12 and younger attend free. No meals are included with the day pass, but concessions will be available and there are many restaurants in the downtown area. Note that some food vendors will not accept cash.
Diocese of Gary faithful are also welcome to drive to Indianapolis, in which case they will still need to purchase a day pass. Many downtown parking options are available in Indianapolis. The NEC is working with two major parking providers in the downtown area who have arranged special rates for the National Eucharistic Congress. Parking passes are available to purchase in advance for single days or the entirety of the event, and that is encouraged; see options at Consider carpooling with friends, family, or fellow parishioners to save on parking costs.
“We will be having events and activities throughout the summer in our diocese, both before and after the Eucharistic Congress, to fire up our people for the work of missionary discipleship, and attending the Diocesan Day trip is really the cornerstone of those efforts,” said Father McNicholas.


Caption: Father Dave Kime, pastor at Queen of All Saints in Michigan City, carries the monstrance in a Eucharistic procession on Corpus Christi Sunday in 2023, one of a number of processions hosted in the Diocese of Gary as the second year of a National Eucharistic Revival continued. This summer, the celebration will climax with a National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis, where a Diocesan Day is planned by the Gary diocese for Saturday, July 20. (Bob Wellinski/file photo)