WILMINGTON – Eight parishes in the city of Wilmington will participate in Holy Thursday in the City, when the faithful visit churches following liturgies. The seven churches visitation is a tradition in the Catholic Church, although the number does not have to be seven.
The parishes participating on April 18 are the Cathedral of St. Peter, in conjunction with St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception and St. Patrick; St. Ann; St. Anthony of Padua; St. Thomas the Apostle; St. Elizabeth; St. Hedwig; St. Paul; and St. Joseph. Each parish will celebrate Mass at 7 p.m. Bishop Malooly will be at the cathedral.
At the conclusion of each Mass, there will be a procession of the Blessed Sacrament to a special place of reposition in preparation for Good Friday services. It commemorates those hours Jesus spent in the Garden of Gethsemane.
The cathedral and St. Joseph will be open until 9 p.m. St. Thomas and St. Hedwig will remain open until 10. There will be a Tenebrae service at St. Hedwig at 10. The other four churches will stay open until 11 p.m. The Mass at St. Paul’s will take place in the lower chapel. St. Thomas will hold a Tenebrae service on April 17 at 7 p.m.
Holy Thursday signals the end of Lent and the beginning of the Holy Triduum, which ends on Easter Sunday. Visiting seven churches is a tradition that grew from the time of prayer and adoration after the Holy Thursday Mass. The practice may have originated in Rome, where pilgrims would visit the seven major basilicas.