What is it: An ancient custom in the Church in which groups or individuals visit the altars of repose (tabernacles) of seven nearby churches after the Mass of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday evening.
Why do it: The spirit of the visits to the churches is to recall the vigil kept by Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemani before His arrest. We find this event in the holy scriptures at Matthew 26:36 “Then Jesus came with them into a country place which is called Gethsemani; and he said to his disciples: Sit you here, while I go yonder and pray.”
Why Seven Churches: Seven is a highly symbolic number in the Church representing completeness. (Seven days of the week, Seven Sacraments, Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, etc.) By visiting Seven Churches, we symbolize praying with the entirety of the universal Church.
How to do it: Saint Andrew parish recommends individuals to organize themselves in small groups to make this pilgrimage. Groups can go at their own pace, attend to each other’s needs, and even end early if necessary. Begin your journey after the Mass of the Last Supper
Take photos of your journey and mark them on social media with the hashtag #SaintAndrew7Churches
Saint Alphonsus – 1429 W. Wellington Ave
Saint Mary of the Lake – 4200 N. Sheridan
Our Lady of Lourdes – 4640 N. Ashland
Saint Matthias – 2310 West Ainslie Street
Queen of Angels – 2330 W. Sunnyside Ave
Saint Benedict – 2215 W. Irving Park
Start or end with Saint Andrew. Use an alternate route with other Churches if it suits you better.
Families with small children – The advantages of making this pilgrimage as a family is that you can determine your own pace and end whenever you feel appropriate given your child’s attention, food needs, or even fatigue. Even making a few churches on this holy night can be a memorable experience!
We also recommend parishioners who can make a more physically intensive pilgrimage to participate in the “Camino de Chicago” sponsored by The Camino Project. This is a walking pilgrimage of seven churches with a non-profit organization begun in our own parish that supports young adults making the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Find out more at www.thecaminoproject.org/events