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Holy Thursday seven-church pilgrimage across Arlington diocese

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After breaking bread with his disciples on Holy Thursday, Jesus traveled across the Kidron Valley to the Garden of Gethsemane. There in the quiet of nature, he spent time in prayer with God, preparing for his passion and death.

After the Mass of the Lord's Supper, priests carry the Eucharist out of church to a special place where adorers can spend time with the body of Christ throughout the night. The altars of repose, where the Eucharist is placed, are adorned with flowers, greenery and candles, and surrounded by kneelers and chairs.

Following the Roman tradition, some make the journey to the altars of repose at seven churches. The diocesan Young Adult Ministry created a guide to the Seven Churches In Person/Virtual Pilgrimage with different routes mapped out, suggested spiritual reading and a playlist. It also includes a message from Bishop Michael F. Burbidge to the pilgrims.

“I commend you for going on this spiritual journey of tending to our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane. (It) is a place caught in the middle and filled with tension,” he wrote. “On one side is Jesus’ Last Supper, the institution of the Eucharist and holy priesthood. On the other side is the passion and resurrection. Between these momentous occasions for the people of God is Jesus’ call to the apostles and for you today: ‘remain here and keep watch with me.’ 

“It is my prayer that for these few precious moments you will take him up on this offer,” said Bishop Burbidge. “Turn away from the distractions, obligations, and activities of the past and what may come in the future. For now, simply remain with Jesus Christ.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021