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The Pilgrimage to Personal Transformation

“This was the place that sparked my faith,” said Patrick Fayad, a 2023 Benedictine College graduate, who thrived during his time on campus and now returned as part of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage.

The Eucharistic Pilgrimage passes over the Missouri River at Atchison, Kansas.

The Eucharistic Pilgrimage passes over the Missouri River at Atchison, Kansas.

The Pilgrimage was welcomed to Benedictine College on June 25 as more than 1,200 individuals gathered in Atchison, Kansas, to walk alongside Jesus through the Blessed Sacrament.

Benedictine College is known for its mission of transforming culture, and the school’s goal is to do that through its students and alumni. Patrick embraced a calling to the service of others while on campus, and that calling continues in his role as a Perpetual Pilgrim, a select group of individuals who were chosen to accompany the Eucharist on the 2,200-mile journey across the United States to arrive at Indianapolis for the National Eucharistic Conference in July. Patrick and the other Perpetual Pilgrims made a 3-month commitment to the Eucharistic Revival.

Originally from Omaha, Neb., Patrick is the eldest of four children. Early in his life, he set an example for what it means to be a leader to his three younger siblings. To build his faith, he decided he wanted to attend a college that was passionately Catholic.

After undergoing a truly life-changing experience at the college’s youth camp, BCYC, Patrick was compelled to attend Benedictine. Being active in his faith life, he began his journey as a Raven in August 2019, pursuing majors in Psychology and Theology.

The Pilgrimage approaches the entrance to Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.

The Pilgrimage approaches the entrance to Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.

Patrick became well-known throughout the campus due to his leadership roles, athletics, and connection with the student body. He did not shy away from opportunities despite the demands of being a varsity athlete on the wrestling team. As a Gregorian Leadership Fellow, he established strong relationships with his fellow peers and leaders. He participated as a Raven Orientation Camp leader, served as a Raven Standard mentor, and organized and led the Men’s Mentorship Program for on-campus students. He served as an assistant to the Study Abroad Program in Florence, Italy, and was a member of the Pre-Med Club, Brewing Club, and Communion & Liberation University. He received the Fran Jabara Leadership Award during the 2023 Commencement Ceremony. While at Benedictine, Patrick surrounded himself with like-minded individuals who fueled his pursuit of virtue. It was the community he had built that sustained and encouraged him to live out his faith.

“I met virtuous friends and what friendship should look like was a huge part of what Benedictine showed me,” Patrick said. “I’ve grown a lot in my joy and freedom as a person, in my connectedness in my desires and strengths that God created me with. But especially in my dependence on the Eucharist.”

Patrick Fayad, seen in the center of this picture, walks with more than 1,200 pilgrims as a Perpetual Pilgrim.

Patrick Fayad, seen in the center of this picture, walks with more than 1,200 pilgrims as a Perpetual Pilgrim.

Patrick acknowledged how formative his experience at Benedictine College was for him –in faith and in character and having a strong connection to the Eucharist established a firm foundation for him to accept the position of becoming a Perpetual Pilgrim. Prior to the pilgrimage, Patrick stated how throughout his time as a student at Benedictine, he was being prepared to receive the calling that God had for his life. He said he learned the value of being reliant on the Lord amidst life changes and struggles.

“I grew a lot more here (at Benedictine College),” he said. “I grew in dependence on the Lord –to suffer for Him and to sacrifice for Him. Faith is not static; it is always growing deeper and virtuous and more in love.”

Patrick’s personal relationship with God has been renewed on this Pilgrimage as their mission is to inspire Eucharistic revival in the hearts of believers.

“In the quiet of my heart, I’ve grown closer, I’ve been more comforted, and the Lord has broken down a lot of walls,” he said. “Being a part of this has been the Lord’s call to me to fully give my life to Him in a deeper way and depend upon Him and allow Him to heal my heart. He has done that little by little every day in ways that are almost imperceptible.”

The National Eucharistic Pilgrimage on the campus of Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.

The National Eucharistic Pilgrimage on the campus of Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.

“For me, that’s what I’ve been trying to do in our community – to really make sure we are praying for one another intentionally and loving each other like Christ would,” he said. “We are in a world that is deceiving, confusing, and anyone who has been out there can tell you that nothing else satisfies. We are constantly being told to do this, try that, and go here to find happiness, joy, peace, and love –and satisfy the true comfort that our hearts were made for and there is one place that it comes to you –and that’s through God rather than searching.”

Throughout his journey of being a Perpetual Pilgrim, Patrick is fulfilling a mission to transform culture, just as he was transformed to reflect the Heart of Jesus. Through Benedictine’s strong roots, values and mission, the culture in America is being transformed, one student at a time.


Emma Lyons

Emma R.C. Lyons

Emma R.C. Lyons is a rising senior at Benedictine College who is working as a writing intern in the Marketing & Communications Office for the summer. She is an English major who has helped other students as a writing tutor. In 2024, she served as the managing editor of Loomings, the Benedictine College arts magazine. She is known as a highly empathetic, methodical, and goal-oriented individual.