Holy Thursday – Altars of Repose
At the conclusion of the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper, In Coena Domini, there is the tradition of placing the reserving the Blessed Sacrament on an altar other than the main altar of the Church. This altar is called the Altar of Repose, and is usually decorated especially for the occasion. The faithful are then encouraged to come and pray. In this moment the Church recalls and lives the experience in garden of Gethsemane (Mt 26:36-46).
In Rome this tradition takes on another dimension when one considers the vast number of Churches throughout the Eternal City. It is a tradition to spend the evening walking from Church to Church stopping in to pray. The streets are packed with faithful pilgrims. It is one of my favorite evenings every year.
This year was a little different than past years as I was able to accompany roughly 60 students from my apostolate, Loyola University Chicago as well as a few students from Duquesne University. As in past years, it did not disappoint. It was a beautiful evening of good conversation and deep prayer.
Here are photos from a few of the Churches we visited.