In this Year of the Real Presence, Catholics around the Diocese are invited to continue a traditional devotion during Holy Week – visiting parish churches on Holy Thursday evening to pray before the Blessed Sacrament.
This year, more than 75 churches in the five counties of the Diocese of Allentown will be open during special evening hours for visitation and Adoration.
Holy Thursday marks the end of Lent and the beginning of the Holy Triduum, which also includes Good Friday and the Easter Vigil on Saturday.
Celebrated on Holy Thursday is the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, when Catholics remember the Passover Meal at which Jesus shared bread and wine with his disciples, saying “Do this in memory of Me.” Through the power of the Holy Spirit and the actions of the priest, this bread and wine becomes the Body and Blood of Christ at each Mass.
After the Mass, there is a procession with the Holy Eucharist to a temporary altar where the Most Blessed Sacrament is placed in a vessel called a repository. The faithful then spend time in prayer and adoration.
It is then that the visitation of other churches begins. People are invited to visit churches in their area. Traditionally, many visit seven churches at this time, if possible, depending on their proximity to each other.
The visitation is a good time for Catholics to remember when Jesus asked his disciples to watch with Him in the garden. Upon entering each church, the faithful visit the altar of repose, kneel, and spend time in private prayer and adoration.
The Visitation of Churches is a wonderful way to spend time in prayer and meditation, and to enrich your preparations for Easter. To plan your visits, click here to see a list of Diocese churches and visitation hours.