Tonight is Cuenca Catholics’ seven church pilgrimage

28 de marzo de 2013 - 09:09

Over the years, several Holy Week traditions in Ecuador’s southern region have been lost or fallen out of favour. You don’t see purple shrouds over the saints on church altars, or hear priests giving mass in Latin anymore. But in Cuenca, the tradition of the seven church pilgrimage endures.

Long lines snaked outside the main churches in Cuenca yesterday as the faithful gathered to enter confession and pray before Easter weekend.

Priest Guillermo Andrade, rector of Cuenca’s Cathedral, says the visits to seven churches are a Holy Thursday tradition.

"After the Mass is held in all the holy shrines, the Santísimo is kept in a special place for parishioners to worship. Many families have a habit of praying their way around the seven sites. It was a tragic night for Jesus and that feeling is raw in the hearts of his followers," he said. The destinations include the churches of San Francisco, La Merced, San Blas, San Sebastian Heart of Jesus, Santo Domingo, The Upper Room, Christ the King, Las Conceptas and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

The pilgrimages start at 7 p.m. Police will be patrolling the downtown core where more than 14 churches are located.

Lorena Piedra says it was a ritual her parents instilled in her. She now goes with her own family.

“We leave our homes, and go to the centre of town. Sometimes because of the large crowds you can’t get into a given church, but the important thing is to go to seven of them. At each one we pray to God and ask for health and peace in our home.”

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