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.