Holy Thursday Virtual 7 Church Pilgrimage

Megan Marley, media coordinator

At the close of Holy Thursday services, the Blessed Sacrament is processed to the Altar of Repose, awaiting distribution at Good Friday’s Mass of the Presanctified (no hosts are consecrated at the Friday liturgy). The faithful customarily spend time in silent prayer and adoration before the Altar—but a related, more itinerant, practice is also carried out in some places.

In Rome, following Holy Thursday Masses, pilgrims flock from church to church—continuing a centuries-old tradition of venerating at least seven Altars of Repose. The custom is closely tied to visiting seven major Roman basilicas ( St. John Lateran, St. Peter, St. Paul Outside the Walls, St. Mary Major, St. Lawrence Outside the Walls, Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, and St. Sebastian). At each of the seven stops, a brief meditation is made upon the events of the first Holy Thursday following the Last Supper:

  • Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22: 39-46)
  • Jesus bound and taken before Annas (John 18: 19-22)
  • Jesus taken before the High Priest, Caiaphas (Matthew 26: 63-65)
  • Jesus taken before Pilate (John 18, 35-37)
  • Jesus taken before Herod (Luke 23: 8-9; 11)
  • Jesus taken before Pilate again (Matthew 27: 22-26)
  • Jesus given the crown of thorns and led to his crucifixion (Matthew 27: 27-31)

The practice also persists outside the Holy City, with pilgrims visiting seven local churches on Holy Thursday as unique way to meditate on the Passion as a local community, and encounter how neighboring parishes prepare for and experience Holy Week.

While physically travelling to seven churches this Holy Thursday may be difficult, below are some virtual tours of churches in Rome, around the world and in the U.S.A. to make a virtual pilgrimage. Additionally, here are some live-streamed perpetual adoration locations.

Virtual tours along the traditional Rome route 

  1. St. John Lateran
  2. Basilica of St. Peter
  3. St. Paul Outside the Walls
  4. Basilica of St. Mary Major

Other churches & chapels

  1. Basilica of St. Louis, King of France (St. Louis, MO, U.S.A.)
  2. Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Washington, D.C., U.S.A.)
  3. Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Notre Dame, IN, U.S.A.)
  4. Canterbury Cathedral (U.K.)
  5. Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine (St. Augustine, FL, U.S.A.)
  6. Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis (St. Louis, MO, U.S.A.)
  7. Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres (France)
  8. Cathedral of St. Paul (St. Paul, MN, U.S.A.)
  9. National Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal (Perryville, MO, U.S.A.)
  10. Pauline Chapel (Vatican City)
  11. Redemptoris Mater Chapel (Vatican City)
  12. Sistine Chapel
  13. St. Patrick’s Cathedral (New York, NY, U.S.A.)

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