UPDATED: Seven Jefferson City area churches to host stational pilgrimage on Holy Thursday evening


Seven parishes in and near the Capital City will host an evening of silent pilgrimage and prayer following the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, April 6.

The Most Blessed Sacrament will be reposed for Adoration in all seven churches until midnight.

The churches include:

  • St. Andrew Church, 400 St. Andrews Drive in Holts Summit;
  • the Undercroft of the Cathedral of St. Joseph, 2305 W. Main St. in Jefferson City;
  • Immaculate Conception Church, 1206 E. McCarty St. in Jefferson City;
  • St. Peter Church, 216 Broadway in Jefferson City;
  • St. Martin Church, 7148 St. Martins Blvd. in St. Martins;
  • St. Francis Xavier Church, 7319 Route M in Taos; and
  • St. Stanislaus Church, 6418 Route W in Wardsville.

All are invited to participate in the centuries-old tradition of visiting at least seven altars of repose in local churches.

Each of the altars corresponds to one of the seven places, or “stations,” Jesus went to between the Last Supper in the Upper Room to his crucifixion on the cross.

“Catholics remember when Jesus asked his disciples to stay and watch with him while they were in the garden of Gethsemane and his agony began,” said Father Jeremy Secrist, pastor of St. Peter Parish in Jefferson City.

At each of the stops, a brief meditation is made upon the events of the first Holy Thursday following the Last Supper:

  • Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46)
  • Jesus bound and taken before Annas (John 18:19-22)
  • Jesus taken before the High Priest, Caiaphas (Matthew 26:63-65)
  • Jesus taken before Pilate (John 18, 35-37)
  • Jesus taken before Herod (Luke 23:8-9; 11)
  • Jesus taken before Pilate again (Matthew 27:22-26); and
  • Jesus crowned with thorns (Matthew 27:27-31).

Upon entering each church, pilgrims visit the Altar of Repose, kneel, make the Sign of the Cross, read the appropriate Scripture passage for each station, and engage in private prayer and adoration.

At the seventh station, many will close their pilgrimage by opting to observe a Holy Hour.

Bishop W. Shawn McKnight encourages the people in the area to participate in this local tradition, “especially as a means of spiritual preparation for the rededication of our Cathedral during the Easter Season and the National Eucharistic Revival in our country.”

This custom is tied to a centuries-old tradition of visiting the seven major basilicas in Rome, as well as the opening chapters of the Book of Revelation, in which the seven ancient Churches are visited.

Beginning in the 1500s, the tradition spread from Rome “throughout Italy and around the world, particularly to Poland, Mexico and the Philippines,” said Fr. Secrist.

He noted that the Seven Churches Vitiation is a powerful and intentional way to spend time in Adoration, meditating on Christ’s sacrifice of love for the salvation of souls in preparation for the joy of Easter.

It’s more than just a chance to visit other parishes and see how beautifully their altars of repose are adorned.

“Rather,” said Fr. Secrist, “it’s the intentional acceptance of Christ’s request for His disciples to keep vigil with him, to journey with him, and to contemplate the gift of his redeeming love, which leads to his cross on Good Friday.”