The Seven Churches

On Holy Thursday, there is a very beautiful and ancient tradition of visiting seven churches.  Actually, you don’t only visit seven churches, but the Altar of Repose of the Blessed Sacrament.  On Holy Thursday, following the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the Blessed Sacrament is taken on a procession through the Church and reposed in the tabernacle specially decorated and adorned with at least six candles.  The procession is lead by the cross, two lighter candles incense and the priest, carrying the Blessed Sacrament.  This is a time for intense devotion for the Most Holy Sacrament and prayer as we enter into these holy days.  Visiting the altar of Repose in the seven churches stems from pilgrims visiting the seven churches of Rome as a form of penance.  The seven churches include St Peter’s, St. Paul Outside the Walls, St. Mary Major, St. John in the Lateran, St. Laurence Outside the Walls, Holy Cross in Jerusalem and the Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love.  The last replaced St. Sebastian Outside the Walls since the year 2000.  I have kept this wonderful tradition for many years and find it most rewarding.  It reminds us of the great gift we have as Catholics in the Blessed Sacrament and a view of the universality of the Church.  Why not start a new tradition for yourself, your family or your parish – pick out seven churches and visit Our Lord this Holy Night!

Be sure to check what time the churches are open, some close at 10 PM, fewer are remaining open until Midnight.

5 thoughts on “The Seven Churches

  1. Hi, my mum is nearing the end of her life and as a kid used to take me to seven churches on a good Friday. I no longer go to church and would like to find faith and do this tradition again, but dont understand why we done it. Can yoy help?

    • I will pray for you and your mum Damien. The tradition is actually on Holy Thursday after the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. People visit the altar of repose of the Most Blessed Sacrament in seven churches. It comes for ancient Roman tradition. But, it is a sign of love for Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament on the day He gave us the Sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and Holy Orders on the night he spent in pray in the Garden of Olives after the 1st Mass with His Apostles.

    • Damien I will pray for you too as you are on the way to returning and that is a Blessing. I only wish I could say the same for my children and grandchildren. you are an inspiration.

    • Damian,
      I know this comes to you a long time after you posted, but I just read it. I want you to know that I have prayed for you. I hope you were able to go on your journey, and that you have found a renewed faith. I also hope that you have returned to your family here, and may God pour out an abundance of grace upon you. Blessings!

  2. i too when doing the visit of 7 churches, I also did not understand it but to onky offer my time and devition to our Lord Jesus Christ as a little penance for my sins and visiting 7 churches makes me feel that my sins are forgiven. You are on your way to your faith Damien.

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