National Eucharistic Pilgrimage to include Cecil parish

Catholic bishops call for revival in belief that Christ is truly present in Eucharistic bread
Kevin Passon

A once-in-a-lifetime event will take place at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Parish in Cecil this summer.

The United States Council of Catholic Bishops has called for a National Eucharistic Revival, which includes a National Eucharistic Pilgrimage bringing Jesus to different cities and villages throughout the United States. Cecil is one of the stops along the Marian Route, with celebratory events scheduled for June 12.

“There are four national routes, each ending in Indianapolis in July,” said Deacon Todd Raether, pastoral leader of St. Martin’s. “A group of eight pilgrims will travel this entire route from its beginning in northern Minnesota. When the route was planned, it was decided they would spent the night at Camp Tekakwitha, which is in our parish. That’s how we were chosen to participate.”

Camp Tekakwitha is a youth summer camp of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, located on Lake Drive on the southern end of Loon Lake.

A core belief of the Catholic faith is that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharistic bread.

“A Pew Research Center survey showed only 30% of Catholics believe in the true presence of Jesus in the (communion) bread,” Raether said. “The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops called for a revival with a Eucharistic Congress with the pilgrimage as part of it.”

Raether said there are many reasons Catholics may no longer believe in the church’s teaching around transubstantiation.

“There are plenty of worldly things that can push people away from this teaching,” he said.

Events will begin at 2:30 p.m. with an hour of Eucharistic Adoration at the church, 407 S. Warrington Ave.

At 3:30 p.m., Raether will lead a Eucharistic procession from the church to the shores of Shawano Lake at Cecil Village Park. Shuttle buses will be available to take pilgrims back to St. Martin’s Parish Hall for a picnic-style dinner.

After boarding a boat at the park, Raether will lead a flotilla-style procession around the shores of Shawano Lake, ending at a private dock on the north shore about 5 p.m.

Boat procession participants are also invited to St. Martin’s for the picnic meal, which will continue until 7:30 p.m.

“The public is invited to attend any of the events; however, they should only plan to either walk or bring their boat,” Raether said. “The logistics of trying to provide boat transportation to the walking pilgrims is simply more that we can provide. All in all, it promises to be a special event.”

Boaters are encouraged to decorate their watercraft with festive flags and banners; political banners and flags are not welcome.

To ease congestion at the Cecil boat landing, consider launching from one of the many public landings on Shawano Lake. Launch fees will apply. There are landings at Swan Acre Drive, Stark Road and Shawano County Park.

To ensure there is enough food for all, registration is encouraged and may be completed online at

Raether is planning on a picnic that will feed 300 people.

“But, if only one person comes and believes again, that will be a success,” he said.

St. Martin’s membership is about 200 families and grows with the influx of summer tourists. Raether has run the day-to-day pastoral care of the parish since 2019.

Information about the National Eucharistic Revival and Pilgrimage may be found at or

Raether and his wife, Mary, will attend the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis in July. It is the first such event in 83 years.

Questions may be directed to Raether at or 715-745-6681.