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‘Come Join Us!’: Washington, DC’s ‘Little Rome’ Hosts 1,200 for Eucharistic Procession

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‘Come Join Us!’: Washington, DC’s ‘Little Rome’ Hosts 1,200 for Eucharistic Procession


More than 1,200 filled the streets of the neighborhood known as “Little Rome” in Washington, D.C., on Saturday to pay witness to Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament as part of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage.

After Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Evelio Menjívar-Ayala, the crowd of faithful filed out of the church and spilled into the streets to follow the procession.

Armed with tote bags provided by the Archdiocese of Washington that were filled with everything needed for the day’s sojourn — water, a snack, a map of the procession route, and rosary beads — the pilgrims set out for a morning of fellowship, prayer, and time spent in proximity to Jesus in the Eucharist.

The two-mile-long procession route bordered the basilica and the Catholic University of America and traveled through Brookland, a densely populated neighborhood with a lively business district that is home to residences of several religious orders.

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The June 8 procession through this corner of the nation’s capital was part of the broader National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, an initiative of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ National Eucharistic Revival intended to foster a greater understanding and devotion to the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. 

While those who live and work in the Brookland neighborhood of Washington are not strangers to the rhythms of Catholic life there (the basilica’s church bells mark the hours to the tune of “Ave Maria”), the sheer numbers of faithful in the streets drew the attention of dozens of curious onlookers. They stood on their front lawns, apartment balconies, or roofs to get a closer look as the procession passed by their homes.

“Come join us!” one procession-goer beckoned onlookers who watched the proceedings. 

Two laborers working on the roof of a house under construction smiled and waved back as they paused to watch the Eucharist and the crowd pass.

A group of people sitting outside a coffee shop stopped their conversation to take pictures of the procession as the faithful sang hymns and prayed the rosary, alternating between English and Spanish.

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Sister Margaret Regina of the Little Sisters of the Poor told CNA: “It’s the first time I’ve seen [something like this] in the area.” The sister said she was happy to see so many people of different backgrounds at the procession.

There is a “need to profess our faith” and tell people: “This is what I believe,” she said. “We need this peace that only [Christ] can bring because our hearts have to change and be like him.” 

The procession brought a diverse group of Catholics together to celebrate the Eucharist: a few communities of religious sisters, dozens of priests, and hundreds of laypeople from various backgrounds speaking, praying, and singing in different languages.

It took more than three hours for the procession to slowly wend its way from the basilica to the John Paul II Shrine, making stops at the “Angels Unaware” statue at Catholic University, at the home of the Nashville Dominicans, the Dominican House of Studies, and the offices of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

At each stop, the priests carrying the monstrance and its canopy and young people following with candles held high stopped as speakers read reflections on the Gospel (alternating between English and Spanish). The crowd, young and old alike, knelt on the hot asphalt for a moment to adore the Eucharist.

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Young people lead the way as the procession travels through “Little Rome” in Washington, DC. Credit: Mihoko Owada/The Catholic Standard

“[The Eucharist] strengthens us, unites us with the body of Christ, and equips us to carry on his mission in the world,” Father Robert Hitchens, administrator of the Ukrainian Catholic National Shrine of the Holy Family, told pilgrims as they gathered near the Basilica Rosary Walk and Garden.

In emphasizing the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, Hitchens said the Blessed Sacrament “is not merely a symbol” but rather “a banquet.”

When the procession reached its final destination of the day for Benediction — the St. John Paul II National Shrine — children threw rose petals on the ground ahead of the procession. Some of the older attendees, including religious sisters, who were not able to walk for the whole procession were given chairs to watch the procession’s closing stop at the shrine. Some, with the help of aides, rose from their seats to stand in reverence as the procession neared.

Young boys throw rose petals on the ground as the procession approaches. Credit: Zelda Caldwell/CNA
Young boys throw rose petals on the ground as the procession approaches. Credit: Zelda Caldwell/CNA

Sister Mary Vincent of the Little Sisters of the Poor told CNA the procession “was a gift to this area” and said the reverence, with so many Catholics kneeling in the streets to adore Christ in the Eucharist, was “absolutely beautiful.” She said it can help strengthen faith “when you see everyone around you adoring him.”

The pilgrimage, which began on Pentecost, has four routes: from the north, south, east, and west, all heading to Indianapolis for the July 17–21 National Eucharistic Congress.

The Washington, D.C., procession was part of the Seton Route, which began on the East Coast in New Haven, Connecticut. The route has brought Christ through the streets of New York City, Philadelphia, and Baltimore along with other communities in the northeast. The route will continue into southwest Pennsylvania before heading into Ohio and then Indiana. 

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Cardinal Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Washington, celebrated a solemn Mass for the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage in the upper church of the basilica at noon on Sunday, June 9, the day after the procession. Bishop Michael Burbidge of the next-door Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, was a concelebrant.





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Washington, D.C

The Mystics’ surge continues with another victory over the Wings

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The Mystics’ surge continues with another victory over the Wings


Eric Thibault admitted he has not been angrier at halftime this season. His Washington Mystics put together their best offensive performance of the year Saturday, so he knew the Dallas Wings would be out to redeem themselves in a rematch Sunday afternoon. Through 20 minutes, the coach was right — the Wings led by five.

“I was like a little caged animal this morning because you could see what was coming,” Thibault said. “You could see a team that got blown out yesterday, that’s got pride and great players [and] is going to come back a certain way. I told the team after the game it’s never not going to be hard. … It’s always going to be hard, and we had to have a little bit more maturity about our approach. But to our credit, we played the way we want to play in the second half.”

The Mystics bounced back to grab a 10-point lead after three quarters and never trailed again in a 92-84 victory at Entertainment and Sports Arena. Their 92 points were their second most of the season, trailing only their output from Saturday’s 97-69 win. Those back-to-back outbursts came from the team that ranked last in the WNBA in scoring most of the season, but the turnaround has been in the works for seven games now: The Mystics have averaged 87.3 points in that stretch, which would rank second in the league.

And now the Mystics (4-13), who have won four of five, are out of last place in the league despite a franchise-worst 0-12 start and major injury problems. Sstarting power forward Shakira Austin (hip) has missed the past nine games, starting point guard Brittney Sykes (foot) the past four (and all but three this season) and rookie Aaliyah Edwards (lower back) the past two.

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The Wings (3-13) came out with the energy Thibault expected, particularly after an emotional talk from Latricia Trammell. The second-year coach and her players discussed their “why” — meaning why — and for whom — they play the game. Dallas’s losing streak still reached 11 games Sunday, but she wanted everyone to think about why they do this, even in tough times. Trammell spoke about her mother, father and brother, who died in recent years.

“Losing as many as we have in a row, due to our situation, just bringing that energy, the passion back,” Trammell said as tears began to well in her eyes before the game. “I told them my ‘why,’ got emotional. You’ve got to love what we do. … You’ve got to enjoy what we do because you never know.”

That emotion seemed to take root for a Wings team missing Satou Sabally (shoulder), Maddy Siegrist (finger) and Jaelyn Brown (illness). Natasha Howard scored 20 of her game-high 26 points in the first half and Arike Ogunbowale added 15 of her 23 as Dallas outrebounded Washington 22-12. Dallas led by 10 in the second quarter, but a 51-46 halftime lead disappeared, with a 29-14 third putting the Mystics in control.

The Mystics’ Stefanie Dolson had 18 points and eight rebounds, both team highs. Karlie Samuelson and Emily Engstler scored 13 points apiece, and Ariel Atkins and Myisha Hines-Allen (now in the starting lineup) finished with 12 each. The Mystics had a season-high 27 assists, including seven from Atkins, and shot 51.9 percent from behind the arc (14 for 27).

“[Dolson has] taken the challenge,” Thibault said. “We’ve asked a lot of her. We’ve asked for a lot of minutes against a lot of physical players and then also to have legs to make shots at the other end. It’s not easy.”

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Dolson has averaged 16 points in her past three games after entering Sunday scoring 8.9 per game. She was 4 for 5 from behind the arc and has made a career-high 35 threes in 17 games this season. Engstler had 22 points all season before she scored a career-high 23 on Saturday.

At this point, when the team needs you to play a little more minutes and stuff like that, when you go hard in practice, it’s kind of just what happens when you show up ready,” Engstler said. “The past three weeks of practices has really been where my confidence has gotten better.”

Despite having several major contributors sidelined, the Mystics are playing their best basketball of the season. And for the first time, the Mystics don’t have a road trip this week: They close a four-game homestand with games against Connecticut on Thursday and Las Vegas on Saturday.

Just paying attention to details and the little things because we all know how to play basketball,” Dolson said. “It’s just a matter of can we get open? Can we make that hard cut? Can we set a really good screen to get our teammate open? And I think in the first half tonight we weren’t doing as good of a job of that. And we kind of turned it around. … It’s just time that we’ve gotten to play together and starting to learn each other a little bit more.”



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Man killed in broad-daylight Southeast DC shooting

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Man killed in broad-daylight Southeast DC shooting


WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) is investigating after a man was fatally shot in the middle of the afternoon on Sunday.

Officers responded to the 200 block of 37th Place SE just after 2:10 p.m. There, they found a man who had been shot.

The man died at the scene.

MPD said people should be on the lookout for a grey Nissan sedan with Maryland tags, silver mirrors and tinted windows. It was last seen driving toward Ridge Road, Southeast.

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Israeli defense chief heads to D.C. as Hezbollah escalates threats

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Israeli defense chief heads to D.C. as Hezbollah escalates threats


Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is set to arrive in Washington on Sunday for meetings with U.S. officials, as the threat of a war between Israel and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah continued to escalate.

Gallant will meet with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other officials in D.C., Gallant’s office said in a statement. Gallant will discuss developments in Gaza and Lebanon and efforts to return the remaining Israeli hostages held by Hamas, the statement said.

“The United States is our most important and central ally,” Gallant said before departing on Saturday night, according to the statement. “Our ties are crucial and perhaps more important than ever, at this time.”

In a video message released Saturday night, Hezbollah threatened to attack crucial Israeli buildings if a full-scale war were to break out in Lebanon. The video appears to display coordinates near a central Israeli airport, two power plants, a nuclear research center, a cargo port and a gas field.

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The video features a clip of a speech that Hasan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, delivered Wednesday: “If a war is imposed on Lebanon, the resistance will fight without restraints, without rules, without limits,” he said in the clip.

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U.S. officials have long urged Israel and Hezbollah to avoid a war, a message U.S. special envoy Amos Hochstein reiterated to Israeli and Lebanese leaders in the Middle East last week.

Gallant’s trip, which his office said was at Austin’s invitation, also comes five days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Washington of delaying weapons shipments to Israel, comments White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby later called “perplexing.” Defending those comments at a cabinet meeting Sunday, Netanyahu said: “My job is to do everything to ensure that our heroic fighters receive the arms they need.”

Gallant last visited D.C. in March, days after Blinken and Israeli leaders debated whether Israel should expand military operations in Rafah, which Israeli officials said was necessary to defeat the remaining Hamas battalions. Israel’s military advanced deeper into Rafah last month, and last week, it said it was close to achieving its goals in the southern Gaza city.

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But Israel could face more fighting against Hezbollah, which caught Israel off guard last week when it published drone footage of an Israeli military base at the port of Haifa. The video the militant group released Saturday lists multiple targets, including Israel’s main airport, Ben Gurion, power plants in Ashkelon and Hadera, a plutonium-based facility in Dimona, the Leviathan gas field, a large natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea, and Ashdod, a city that houses one of Israel’s main cargo ports.

Gallant said that discussions regarding the war during his D.C. visit are “particularly important and impactful at this time.”

“We are prepared for any action that may be required in Gaza, Lebanon, and in additional areas,” Gallant said, according to his office.

The actions of Israel’s military spurred controversy in a separate region, the Wadi Burqin area of the West Bank, on Saturday. Footage that was widely circulated and verified by Reuters showed a man strapped to the hood of an Israeli military vehicle during a raid in the area. Two witnesses told The Washington Post that the man was an injured Palestinian detained during a Saturday raid.

The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement that a suspect was injured in an exchange of fire during IDF “counterterrorism operations” in Wadi Burqin. Forces took the suspect while he was tied atop a vehicle, the IDF said, adding that those actions were “in violation of orders and standard operating procedures.”

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The IDF said the person was transferred to the Palestine Red Crescent Society to receive medical treatment, but the humanitarian organization said in a statement that its crew was initially prevented from providing first aid to the injured person.

At least 38 people were killed in Israeli airstrikes on four neighborhoods in Gaza City on Saturday, the Gaza civil defense force said. Video from the Shati refugee camp in western Gaza City, verified by Storyful, showed entire blocks destroyed by the strike. In a statement, the IDF said its fighter jets “struck two Hamas military infrastructure sites in the area of Gaza City,” without elaborating.

The Israeli military’s daily 11-hour pause on an aid corridor in southern Gaza has not helped deliver more resources to the area, Cindy McCain, the executive director of the U.N. World Food Program, told Al-Monitor. “We’ve been shot at, and we’ve been rocketed. So as far as we can tell, there’s no difference at all,” McCain told the news outlet. The military announced its plans for limited “tactical pauses” along the road from the Kerem Shalom crossing last week.

Massive crowds of demonstrators turned out in Tel Aviv on Saturday night to call for the ouster of Netanyahu and demand that Israel reach a cease-fire deal with Hamas to free the remaining hostages in Gaza. Prominent Israeli author David Grossman, speaking at the rally, issued a call for Israelis to fill the streets. “Now’s the time to fight, men, women. Now’s the time to fill the roads and streets,” he said.

At least 37,598 ​​people have been killed and 86,032 injured in Gaza since the war started, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants but says the majority of the dead are women and children. Israel estimates that about 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack, including more than 300 soldiers, and it says 313 soldiers have been killed since the start of its military operations in Gaza.

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Mohamad El Chamaa and Alon Rom contributed to this report.



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