By Adrienne Boudreau:
For the 8th year Broadway Fillmore Alive presents “One Night, Seven Churches,” a self guided tour of 7 historic churches in the First Ward, The Valley and the Broadway-Fillmore area. The event takes place today – Holy Thursday, April 17th.
All 7 churches are partaking in the traditional visitation of the Blessed Sacrament so they will be lit with candles and alive with people, for those interested in viewing the historic churches as well as a cultural event.
The tradition of visiting 7 churches originated in ancient Rome and eventually spread throughout Europe, and was warmly received particularly in Italian and Polish culture, said Christopher Byrd, Broadway Fillmore Alive founder.
I asked him “Why?” and he simply responded “It’s a pilgrimage.”
It certainly seems like a much more accessible pilgrimage than others. You don’t need to buy a plane ticket to the Middle East for this one, you just tour a neighborhood for free.
Requests for the tour have gone up from 50 requests in its first year to over 700 requests received so far this year, according to Broadway Fillmore Alive.
The churches are all in historic immigrant neighborhoods and celebrate the culture, history and artistic accomplishments of each of the heritages.
Visitation of the churches generally starts after Holy Thursday Mass ends around 8:30 p.m. and goes until 11 p.m.
Churches on this year’s tour include: Corpus Christi, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Saint Stanislaus, Saint Luke’s Mission of Mercy, Saint Adalbert Basilica, Saint John Kanty and Saint Clare (see pdf).