This year, the 9th of April marked Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, officially celebrated as “Palm Sunday” and the beginning of the Holy Week. It is a week for Christians to remember the passion of Christ, his sacrifices leading to His crucifixion. Throughout this week prior to Easter Sunday, it is customary to offer special sacrifices and devote time for earnest reflection on the sacrifices of Christ.
Visita Iglesia, or the Seven Churches Visitation, where a believer visits several churches (usually 7 or 14 churches) to pray, is one of the common traditions observed during Lent. Known to be originally done by early pilgrims in Rome, it was then accomplished by praying before the Holy Sacrament in each church. In the Philippines, it is commonly observed to recite the Stations of the Cross as one visits the churches.
Having the opportunity to observe this special tradition together as a Filipino family, we would like to share with everyone the 7 churches we visited this Holy Monday for our Visita Iglesia.
1. WESTMINSTER CATHEDRAL (Metropolitan Cathedral of the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ) in 42 Francis St, Westminster, London SW1P 1QW
2. BROMPTON ORATORY (The Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary) in Brompton Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2RP
3. OUR LADY OF VICTORIES in 235a Kensington High St, Kensington, London W8 6SA
4. ST. JAMES’ CHURCH in Spanish Place, 22 George St, Marylebone, London W1U 3QY
5. FARM STREET CHURCH (The Church of the Immaculate Conception) in 114 Mount St, Westminster, London W1K 3AH
6. ST. PATRICK’S CHURCH in 21a Soho Square, Soho, London W1D 4NR
7. ST. SAVIOUR, ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST AND ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST CHURCH in 175 Lewisham High St, London SE13 6AA
We have included churches found mostly in Central London (which are all very accessible thru public transportation). Starting with the visit in Westminster Cathedral, the largest Catholic church in England, and finishing with our very own St. Saviour’s Church in Lewisham High Street, it was a rewarding day for us blessed with very pleasant spring weather.
As we went through our list that day, not only did we witness stunningly beautiful churches of different architectural styles and histories, but most significant of all, we have again witnessed how Christ saved us all with His suffering and with His death.