Friday, April 18, 2014

Holy Thursday Pilgrimage

I've been Catholic for four years now, and I believe my first Lent as a Catholic was the last time I went on a Holy Thursday pilgrimage, and I remember thinking that it was my favorite day of the year. The next year, I think I was sick, and I can't remember why I couldn't go last year, but this year, I was able to go again with three of my friends, and it was glorious! Holy Thursday is definitely at the top of my list as favorite day of the year. I'm waiting to see how Good Friday turns out before I make my final call, though.

So, I started Holy Thursday evening with Mass in the Extraordinary Form, then we followed the Blessed Sacrament down to the Altar of Repose, spent a few minutes there, and then I met my friends in front of the church to start our pilgrimage. We waited a few minutes for some other friends of mine who were going to take my mom home for me, and get her settled. Then I, Emma, Emma's godmother, a friend of ours from our old parish, and a friend of mine from my new parish, her daughter, and her daughter's friend all went back down to start at our parish's Altar of Repose, and to visit the replica of the Shroud of Turin that my parish (Holy Rosary Catholic Church) is hosting this week, before continuing on our way to four other parishes in the local downtown area to visit their Altars of Repose.

This is only half of the Shroud. The left side shows the back of the crucified man, believed by many
to have been Jesus. In the center is the head, then the body extends out to the edges. In this picture, you can
see the hands crossed in the middle, with dark stains at the wrists, and around the top of the head.

A word on the Shroud of Turin first. If you live locally, you really should check it out. I've seen pictures of it before, and watched TV shows about it, but seeing it in person (even just the replica) is so powerful. It'll be on display until Easter. It's free to go look at (donations are accepted though), and there are several handouts about the Shroud that are also free. There are books and DVDs for sale, but there is absolutely no pressure to buy anything. They also have nails and scourging instruments on display that were used during that time period by the Romans. The times that the exhibit is open to the public is as follows:
Today, Good Friday: noon-6pm
Holy Saturday: 10am-6pm
Easter Sunday: 8:30am-2pm

Our first stop was St. Patrick's Catholic Church, where they had the most beautiful monstrance on display, and people singing praises to God in Spanish. I couldn't understand what they were singing (I do know some Spanish, but I was too enthralled with Jesus in that most beautiful monstrance and display to concentrate enough to translate much), but it was so beautiful. We stayed maybe 10 minutes there, praying, and then moved on to the next place.

Sacred Heart Catholic Church was next. It was the most beautiful church I've ever seen, outside of the cathedrals in Italy. The altar, the walls, the ceiling, everything was just breathtaking. I've decided that after Easter, I just want to go to one Mass there, just to be able to see it all again. We stayed about 10 minutes there too, praying at their Altar of Repose and then moved on again.

Next was St. Mary's Catholic Church (their website is down, but the address is 317 N New Jersey St, Indianapolis, IN 46204 if you'd like to go to the live Way of the Cross). Emma and I didn't pray very long there, as there was a wonderful marble pieta that we wanted to look at while the others were still praying. We went over to it, and Emma talked to Jesus for a little bit, gave His likeness a very sweet hug, and held its hand. Outside the parish, next door was a house (the rectory, maybe) that people were decorating with red banners. Two of my friends lagged behind on the way out to ask about it, and they said they were decorating it to look like Pontius Pilate's place, because tomorrow (today, now - Good Friday) at 5pm they were having a live Way of the Cross, starting there, going around the block, and ending inside the church with the crucifixion.

Finally, we ended at St. John's Catholic Church. By this time, Emma was starting to whine significantly about her feet hurting and being tired, but as it was nearly midnight, I wasn't too upset. We still stayed and prayed about 10 minutes there, before finally leaving and going our different ways.

It was such a beautiful night, even the weather was beautiful. I would highly recommend going on a pilgrimage like this to anyone.

God Bless,

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