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HOLY THURSDAY PILGRIMAGE

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Opening Prayer

Church #1: St. Joan of Arc

Church #2: St. Joseph

Church #3: St. Rose

Church #4: All Saints

Church #5: St. Jerome

Church #6: St. Aloysius

Church #7: St. Thomas More 

Concluding Prayer

At the conclusion of the Last Supper, “after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives” (Mk 14). Jesus and his disciples came to a garden called Gethsemane where he invited his friends to remain close to him, to “keep watch” with him, and to pray (cf. Mt 26, Lk 22). Each year on Holy Thursday, at the conclusion of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the disciples of Jesus together sing a hymn as they travel to their own Gethsemane—a garden altar assembled just for the evening—where Jesus invites you to remain close to him, to keep watch with him, and to pray.

Inspired by the seven-church pilgrimage of St. Philip Neri dating back to the 16th century, we make a pilgrimage tonight to seven churches in our area to visit Jesus, hidden in the Blessed Sacrament. On Holy Thursday Night in 1963, Saint Faustina was praying in adoration after Mass when Jesus spoke these words to her: “Know that your ardent love and the compassion you have for me were a consolation to me in the Garden.” Later, Jesus would speak these words to her: “When on Holy Thursday I left myself in the Blessed Sacrament, you were very much on my mind.” Jesus speaks these words to us tonight. Our love and devotion toward him in the Blessed Sacrament on this Holy Thursday was a consolation to him on that first Holy Thursday.

How to Make the Pilgrimage

  1. Follow the guide below to move from church to church. If you do not travel according to the order in this guide, make sure to take special note of the closing time of each church and arrive before the doors are locked.

  2. Make use of the Spotify playlist “Holy Thursday Pilgrimage” by Saint Tom as travel music to maintain a prayerful attitude even in the car. Specific “travel music” suggestions are listed in this guide for each movement from church to church. All of them are found on the playlist.

  3. This pilgrimage has been designed with the intention that you will spend 10 minutes in each location. Do your best to keep this schedule so that you will complete the pilgrimage on time.

  4. In each church, take some time to read the provided meditation and then take some time in silence with Jesus.

  5. Choose a particular intention to pray for at each church and call those to mind before praying the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be at the conclusion of each visit. Your intentions might include: Your family, to know your vocation, the conversion of sinners, an increase in devotion, an end to war and for peace, a greater respect for human life, the purification of the Church…

  6. This is a pilgrimage, not a race. There is no need to get ahead of or worry about falling behind another group. Proceed in peace and drive carefully.

 

OPENING PRAYERS

“He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.’ And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

(Lk 22:41–44)

 

Our Father, who art in Heaven…

 

“Jesus said, ‘Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again, ‘My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!’”

(Mt 26: 41-42)

 

Our Father, who art in Heaven…

 

“Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open. He left them and withdrew again and prayed a third time, saying the same thing again.”

(Mt 26:43-44)

 

Our Father, who art in Heaven…

Church #1: St. Joan of Arc

5856 Heatherdowns Blvd.

Toledo, Ohio 43614

 

St. Joan of Arc Closes at 10:00pm

Travel Time from St. Tom’s: 26 minutes

Travel Music: The Divine Mercy Chaplet (19:05), Stay with Me (3:56)

Altar of Repose is located in Atrium. Enter through narthex from main parking lot (west of church).

 

MEDITATION

Holy Thursday is not only the day of the institution of the Most Holy Eucharist, whose splendor bathes all else and in some ways draws it to itself. To Holy Thursday also belongs the dark night of the Mount of Olives, to which Jesus goes with his disciples; the solitude and abandonment of Jesus, who in prayer goes forth to encounter the darkness of death; the betrayal of Judas, Jesus’ arrest and his denial by Peter; his indictment before the Sanhedrin and his being handed over to the Gentiles, to Pilate. Let us try at this hour to understand more deeply something of these events, for in them the mystery of our redemption takes place.

 

Jesus goes forth into the night. Night signifies lack of communication, a situation where people do not see one another. It is a symbol of incomprehension, of the obscuring of truth. It is the place where evil, which has to hide before the light, can grow. Jesus himself is light and truth, communication, purity and goodness. He enters into the night. Night is ultimately a symbol of death, the definitive loss of fellowship and life. Jesus enters into the night in order to overcome it and to inaugurate the new Day of God in the history of humanity.

 

On the way, he sang with his Apostles Israel’s psalms of liberation and redemption, which evoked the first Passover in Egypt, the night of liberation.

Pope Benedict XVI

 

 

Our Father… Hail, Mary… Glory Be…

Church #2: St. Joseph

104 W Broadway Street

Maumee, OH 43537

 

St. Joseph closes at 11:00pm

Travel Time from St. Joan of Arc: 10 minutes

Travel Music: Lead Kindly Light (4:16), Here’s My Heart (5:38)

Altar of Repose is located in the Family Center (attached to church).

 

MEDITATION

Now he goes, as was his custom, to pray in solitude and, as Son, to speak with the Father. But, unusually, he wants to have close to him three disciples: Peter, James and John. These are the three who had experienced his Transfiguration – when the light of God’s glory shone through his human figure – and had seen him standing between the Law and the Prophets, between Moses and Elijah. They had heard him speaking to both of them about his “exodus” to Jerusalem. Jesus’ exodus to Jerusalem – how mysterious are these words! Israel’s exodus from Egypt had been the event of escape and liberation for God’s People. What would be the form taken by the exodus of Jesus, in whom the meaning of that historic drama was to be definitively fulfilled? The disciples were now witnessing the first stage of that exodus – the utter abasement which was nonetheless the essential step of the going forth to the freedom and new life which was the goal of the exodus. The disciples, whom Jesus wanted to have close to him as an element of human support in that hour of extreme distress, quickly fell asleep. Yet they heard some fragments of the words of Jesus’ prayer and they witnessed his way of acting. Both were deeply impressed on their hearts and they transmitted them to Christians for all time. Jesus called God “Abba”. The word means – as they add – “Father”. Yet it is not the usual form of the word “father”, but rather a children’s word – an affectionate name which one would not have dared to use in speaking to God. It is the language of the one who is truly a “child”, the Son of the Father, the one who is conscious of being in communion with God, in deepest union with him.

 

Pope Benedict XVI

 

Our Father… Hail, Mary… Glory Be…

Church #3: St. Rose

215 E. Front Street

Perrysburg, OH 43551

 

St. Rose closes at 11:00pm

Travel Time from St. Joseph: 5 minutes

Travel Music: Good Good Father (4:52)

Altar of Repose is located in main church at the Altar of Our Lady (left of main altar)

 

MEDITATION

If we ask ourselves what is most characteristic of the figure of Jesus in the Gospels, we have to say that it is his relationship with God. He is constantly in communion with God. Being with the Father is the core of his personality. Through Christ we know God truly. “No one has ever seen God”, says Saint John. The one “who is close to the Father’s heart … has made him known” (1:18). Now we know God as he truly is. He is Father, and this in an absolute goodness to which we can entrust ourselves. The evangelist Mark, who has preserved the memories of Saint Peter, relates that Jesus, after calling God “Abba”, went on to say: “Everything is possible for you. You can do all things” (cf. 14:36). The one who is Goodness is at the same time Power; he is all-powerful. Power is goodness and goodness is power. We can learn this trust from Jesus’ prayer on the Mount of Olives.

 

Before reflecting on the content of Jesus’ petition, we must still consider what the evangelists tell us about Jesus’ posture during his prayer. Matthew and Mark tell us that he “threw himself on the ground” (Mt 26:39; cf. Mk 14:35), thus assuming a posture of complete submission, as is preserved in the Roman liturgy of Good Friday. Luke, on the other hand, tells us that Jesus prayed on his knees. In the Acts of the Apostles, he speaks of the saints praying on their knees: Stephen during his stoning, Peter at the raising of someone who had died, Paul on his way to martyrdom. In this way Luke has sketched a brief history of prayer on one’s knees in the early Church. Christians, in kneeling, enter into Jesus’ prayer on the Mount of Olives. When menaced by the power of evil, as they kneel, they are upright before the world, while as sons and daughters, they kneel before the Father. Before God’s glory we Christians kneel and acknowledge his divinity; by this posture we also express our confidence that he will prevail.

 

Pope Benedict XVI

 

 

Our Father… Hail, Mary… Glory Be…

 

Church #4: All Saints

630 Lime City Road

Rossford, OH 43460

 

All Saints closes at 11:00pm

Travel Time from St. Rose: 9 minutes

Travel Music: It Is Well (4:11), How He Loves (4:04)

Altar of Repose is located in the main church, to the right of the main altar.

 

MEDITATION

Jesus struggles with the Father. He struggles with himself. And he struggles for us. He experiences anguish before the power of death. First and foremost this is simply the dread natural to every living creature in the face of death. In Jesus, however, something more is at work. His gaze peers deeper, into the nights of evil. He sees the filthy flood of all the lies and all the disgrace which he will encounter in that chalice from which he must drink. His is the dread of one who is completely pure and holy as he sees the entire flood of this world’s evil bursting upon him. He also sees me, and he prays for me. This moment of Jesus’ mortal anguish is thus an essential part of the process of redemption. Consequently, the Letter to the Hebrews describes the struggle of Jesus on the Mount of Olives as a priestly event. In this prayer of Jesus, pervaded by mortal anguish, the Lord performs the office of a priest: he takes upon himself the sins of humanity, of us all, and he brings us before the Father.

 

Pope Benedict XVI

 

 

Our Father… Hail, Mary… Glory Be…

Church #5: St. Jerome

300 Warner Street

Walbridge, OH 43465

 

St. Jerome closes at Midnight

Travel Time from All Saints: 15 minutes

The Altar of Repose is located in the main church, toward the front, in the right transept

 

MEDITATION

Lastly, we must also pay attention to the content of Jesus’ prayer on the Mount of Olives. Jesus says: “Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet not what I want, but what you want” (Mk 14:36). The natural will of the man Jesus recoils in fear before the enormity of the matter. He asks to be spared. Yet as the Son, he places this human will into the Father’s will: not I, but you. In this way he transformed the stance of Adam, the primordial human sin, and thus heals humanity. The stance of Adam was: not what you, O God, have desired; rather, I myself want to be a god. This pride is the real essence of sin. We think we are free and truly ourselves only if we follow our own will. God appears as the opposite of our freedom. We need to be free of him – so we think – and only then will we be free. This is the fundamental rebellion present throughout history and the fundamental lie which perverts life. When human beings set themselves against God, they set themselves against the truth of their own being and consequently do not become free, but alienated from themselves. We are free only if we stand in the truth of our being, if we are united to God. Then we become truly “like God” – not by resisting God, eliminating him, or denying him. In his anguished prayer on the Mount of Olives, Jesus resolved the false opposition between obedience and freedom, and opened the path to freedom. Let us ask the Lord to draw us into this “yes” to God’s will, and in this way to make us truly free.

 

Pope Benedict XVI

 

Our Father… Hail, Mary… Glory Be…

Church #6: St. Aloysius

135 S. Summit Street

Bowling Green, OH 43402

 

St. Aloysius closes at Midnight

Travel Time from St. Jerome: 30 minutes

Travel Music: The Holy Rosary with Bishop Barron (29:00)

The Altar of Repose is located in the School Gym

 

MEDITATION

At the hour which God had appointed to save humanity from its enslavement to sin, Jesus came here, to Gethsemane, to the foot of the Mount of Olives. We now find ourselves in this holy place, a place sanctified by the prayer of Jesus, by his agony, by his sweating of blood, and above all by his “yes” to the loving will of the Father. We dread in some sense to approach what Jesus went through at that hour; we tread softly as we enter that inner space where the destiny of the world was decided.

 

In that hour, Jesus felt the need to pray and to have with him his disciples, his friends, those who had followed him and shared most closely in his mission. But here, at Gethsemane, following him became difficult and uncertain; they were overcome by doubt, weariness and fright. As the events of Jesus’ passion rapidly unfolded, the disciples would adopt different attitudes before the Master: attitudes of closeness, distance, hesitation.

 

Here, in this place, each of us…might do well to ask: Who am I, before the sufferings of my Lord? Am I among those who, when Jesus asks them to keep watch with him, fall asleep instead, and rather than praying, seek to escape, refusing to face reality? Or do I see myself in those who fled out of fear, who abandoned the Master at the most tragic hour in his earthly life? Is there perhaps duplicity in me, like that of the one who sold our Lord for thirty pieces of silver, who was once called Jesus’ “friend”, and yet ended up by betraying him? Do I see myself in those who drew back and denied him, like Peter? Shortly before, he had promised Jesus that he would follow him even unto death (cf. Lk 22:33); but then, put to the test and assailed by fear, he swore he did not know him. Am I like those who began planning to go about their lives without him, like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, foolish and slow of heart to believe the words of the prophets (cf. Lk 24:25)?

 

Pope Francis

 

Our Father… Hail, Mary… Glory Be…

Church #7: St. Thomas More

425 Thurstin Street

Bowling Green, OH 43402

 

St. Thomas More closes at Midnight

Travel Time from St. Aloysius: 4 minutes

Travel Music: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross (3:54)

Altar of Repose is located in Seton Hall, across the courtyard from the Church (follow signs)

 

MEDITATION

Or, thanks be to God, do I find myself among those who remained faithful to the end, like the Virgin Mary and the Apostle John? On Golgotha, when everything seemed bleak and all hope seemed pointless, only love proved stronger than death. The love of the Mother and the beloved disciple made them stay at the foot of the Cross, sharing in the pain of Jesus, to the very end. 

 

Do I recognize myself in those who imitated their Master to the point of martyrdom, testifying that he was everything to them, the incomparable strength sustaining their mission and the ultimate horizon of their lives?

 

 

Jesus’ friendship with us, his faithfulness and his mercy, are a priceless gift which encourages us to follow him trustingly, notwithstanding our failures, our mistakes, also our betrayals. 

 

But the Lord’s goodness does not dispense us from the need for vigilance before the Tempter, before sin, before the evil and the betrayal which can enter even into the religious and priestly life. We are all exposed to sin, to evil, to betrayal. We are fully conscious of the disproportion between the grandeur of God’s call and of own littleness, between the sublimity of the mission and the reality of our human weakness. Yet the Lord in his great goodness and his infinite mercy always takes us by the hand lest we drown in the sea of our fears and anxieties. He is ever at our side, he never abandons us. And so, let us not be overwhelmed by fear or disheartened, but with courage and confidence let us press forward in our journey and in our mission…Let us imitate the Virgin Mary and Saint John, and stand by all those crosses where Jesus continues to be crucified. This is how the Lord calls us to follow him: this is the path, there is no other!

 

 

Pope Francis

 

Our Father… Hail, Mary… Glory Be…

CONCLUDING PRAYERS

“He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.’ And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

(Lk 22:41–44)

 

Our Father, who art in Heaven…

 

“Jesus said, ‘Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again, ‘My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!’”

(Mt 26: 41-42)

 

Our Father, who art in Heaven…

 

“Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open. He left them and withdrew again and prayed a third time, saying the same thing again.”

(Mt 26:43-44)

 

Our Father, who art in Heaven…

 

 

A PRAYER OF ABANDONMENT TO GOD​

Father,

I abandon myself into your hands;

do with me what you will.

Whatever you may do, I thank you:

I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only your will be done in me,

and in all your creatures -

I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul:

I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,

for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,

to surrender myself into your hands without reserve,

and with boundless confidence,

for you are my Father.

 

-Blessed Charles de Foucauld

 

 

Meditations 1-5 are from a homily given by Pope Benedict XVI for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper in 2012 at the Basilica of St. John Lateran. Meditations 6-7 are from an address given by Pope Francis at the Church of Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives in 2014.