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The nun in a tent: Meet the sister who’s following the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage

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Sister Mary Rose Chinn of the Handmaids of the Triune God attends a Byzantine Divine Liturgy at Holy Protection of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Church in downtown Denver on June 8, 2024. / Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA

Denver, Colo., Jun 12, 2024 / 16:00 pm (CNA).

In her day-to-day life, Sister Mary Rose Chinn of the Handmaids of the Triune God works with public school kids in Ventura, California, a coastal city northwest of Los Angeles. But this summer, she hit the road to camp out and follow Jesus in the Eucharist.

When Chinn learned that a group of “Perpetual Pilgrims” would be making its way from California to Indiana on the Junipero Serra Route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, she wanted to be a part of it.

Equipped with her car, a tent, and the “angels and saints in heaven,” Chinn follows the online schedule of the pilgrims, who are accompanying Jesus in the Eucharist on foot and by van on their way to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, where the National Eucharistic Congress will be held July 17–21.

Along the way, she’s offering up the prayer intentions of the people in Ventura and offers to pray for the prayer intentions of those she meets from city to city and parish to parish.

Sister Mary Rose Chinn (center) participates in a Eucharistic procession in downtown Denver that brought nearly 5,000 people on June 9, 2024. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA
Sister Mary Rose Chinn (center) participates in a Eucharistic procession in downtown Denver that brought nearly 5,000 people on June 9, 2024. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA

Chinn’s days are a blend of meeting people, visiting different parishes, and attending processions followed by the solitude of camping.

“It gives me a time to be quiet and in solitude with him [Jesus] during the times that I’m not in the churches or in the parish,” she told CNA. “Because there’s a lot of RV campers but very few tent campers anymore.”

Chinn has gone on many types of pilgrimages before, whether with an organization or “making her own way.” With some backpacking experience, she said she felt prepared for this pilgrimage. 

“The opportunity of a pilgrimage, for me, is like a microcosm of daily life, where you really have to listen and just trust in God’s providence for the next step,” she said. “You can make your plans … but then you turn your plans over to the Lord and see how he works out the day. That’s how it’s been.”

Conversion through the Eucharist

“My intention for the pilgrimage was to give thanks to the Lord for his gift of himself in holy Communion,” Chinn explained. 

Chinn, a convert to the Catholic Church, said another reason she joined the pilgrimage was because “it was really Jesus in the Eucharist that brought me into the Catholic Church.” 

“Because when I went to Mass with a friend, I was reading the Old Testament, wondering what happened to all the Old Testament laws regarding sacrifice, the Protestant churches, and there was no sacrifice,” she explained. “But as soon as I attended Mass, I saw Jesus in sacrifice.” 

Though initially mentored in Christianity by Pentecostals, she learned more about the faith from a Catholic priest before she eventually joined the Catholic Church.

“Of all my years of growing up, I had a lot of Catholic friends, but nobody ever shared Mass with me. They never invited me to Mass,” she said. “I was introduced to Christianity by customers at my parents’ restaurants who were Pentecostal Christians, and they invited me to their church. That’s how I first encountered Jesus in his word and through prayer and through the possibility of the Holy Spirit bringing healing, inflaming your life.”

When she faced the decision between Catholicism and Pentecostalism, the Eucharist pulled her toward the Catholic faith. 

“And so at the end, then, in my prayer, I asked Jesus, ‘So had I really been given the gift of faith to believe in Jesus in the Eucharist, on the altar in the tabernacle?’ and I said ‘Yes,’” she recalled. “So, how could I walk away from the Catholic Church? Because it would be denying Jesus.”

Sister Mary Rose Chinn receives the Eucharist during a Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgy on June 8, 2024. The Eucharist is given via “intinction,” where the small cubes of consecrated, leaven bread are placed in the chalice and given on a spoon. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA
Sister Mary Rose Chinn receives the Eucharist during a Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgy on June 8, 2024. The Eucharist is given via “intinction,” where the small cubes of consecrated, leaven bread are placed in the chalice and given on a spoon. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA

Along the pilgrimage, Chinn said she intends “to pray and ask God’s forgiveness — the old word is ‘reparation’ — for those who do not believe in his real presence and [I am] praying for their conversion to be able to come back.”

Chinn said that since the COVID-19 pandemic she noticed that many people haven’t returned to Mass. She prays that they may “worship God as Jesus has given himself to us.”

“I find there’s a tendency, and it’s perennial, and it’s throughout all parishes, where the parents will send [their children] for the sacraments, but then they don’t practice the faith on a regular basis,” Chinn explained. “And [I pray] for them to fall in love with Jesus and holy Communion, and the Eucharist, and that Mass — that they would be consistent and constant.” 

“If they only realize it makes life much more stable,” she continued. “The Lord is with them all the time — that relationship can develop.”

Sister Mary Rose Chinn attends a Eucharistic procession in downtown Denver that brought nearly 5,000 people on June 9, 2024. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA
Sister Mary Rose Chinn attends a Eucharistic procession in downtown Denver that brought nearly 5,000 people on June 9, 2024. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA

“I think what has struck me the most is the number of parishes that the pilgrimage [reaches]. We, at least sometimes on Sundays, go through at least three parish cities,” she said. “And then there’s Benediction. So I’ve received Benediction at least three times a day.”

When asked what has stood out to her so far, Chinn explained that it has been the faith of the people she meets.

“I find, because I’m able to intermingle with the parishioners, they’re definitely people of faith,” she continued. “There’s an identification, even though they don’t know me, and I don’t know them. They’ve been very generous in the walk with me.”

“The basic faith of the people is still there,” Chinn said. “Even though they say Catholicism in the United States is dwindling, there is a solid portion of people who are still believers, who are willing to come out extra and then to worship God — especially Jesus in the Eucharist.”

Eucharistic pilgrims and others attend the Byzantine Divine Liturgy at Holy Protection of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Church in downtown Denver on June 8, 2024. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA
Eucharistic pilgrims and others attend the Byzantine Divine Liturgy at Holy Protection of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Church in downtown Denver on June 8, 2024. Credit: Kate Quiñones/CNA


Source: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/257973/the-nun-in-a-tent-meet-the-sister-who-s-following-the-national-eucharistic-pilgrimage


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