Youth from Immaculate Heart of Mary and St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Liverpool visit Holy Family Church in Syracuse on Holy Thursday 2016. (Sun photo | Katherine Long)


By Katherine Long | Editor

Visitation is a long-standing Holy Thursday tradition. There are a few explanations of the tradition’s origins, but the devotion remains the same: the faithful visit Altars of Repose in churches to venerate the Blessed Sacrament, spending the evening with the Lord.

This year, due to restrictions necessitated by the spread of the coronavirus, Altars of Repose cannot be set up in the diocese. But the faithful can still visit church tabernacles tonight, via a virtual pilgrimage organized by the diocese.

On the diocesan website, visitors can find links to nine parishes that will be livestreaming views of their tabernacles until 9 p.m. Holy Thursday evening, along with prayers and meditations.

The faithful may also consider making a pilgrimage from their cars, as suggested by the diocese’s Holy Week @ Home initiative.

Whether in a car or in front of a computer, the basics of making tonight’s Holy Thursday pilgrimage are the same:

  1. Prepare mentally and spiritually. Quiet your environment and your mind.
  2. At each stop, begin by making the Sign of the Cross.
  3. Read aloud and then meditate on a scripture passage. Consider reflecting on the Seven Last Words of Christ or the events following the Last Supper on the first Holy Thursday.
  4. Pray one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be for our Holy Father’s intentions.
  5. Conclude by making the Sign of the Cross.
  6. Repeat at seven or more churches.

Will you make a virtual pilgrimage tonight? Share photos of or reflections on your experience by email to or at

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