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Beauty and Joy

Blog Headers 2023-24 (20)

Editor’s Note: DC Service Corps volunteer Noah Duclos shares some takeaways from participating in a Holy Thursday tradition with his family and DCSC community this year.

I had the great privilege of celebrating Easter in DC with my parents, who decided to visit and stay in Casa San Salvador with me and my community. It was a great joy to be able to bring together these groups of people I care about, particularly in such a holy time of the year. We cooked together, ate together, and worshiped together, attending the Triduum services at both the Basilica and the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land. 

One of my favorite experiences from that time together was our participation in the Seven Churches Visitation, a tradition that dates back to medieval times which involves visiting seven different churches after the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. At each church, we visited their altar of repose and spent time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament before setting out for the next one. We are very fortunate in our neighborhood of DC to have so many churches and chapels within a pretty small area, so my parents, community members, and I were able to do the whole pilgrimage on foot. 

As we walked from one church to the next, we were amazed by the number of other people who were participating in the visitation as well. Large groups of families, students, religious, and lay women and men were always in sight ahead or behind us, and each chapel and church had a good number of people in prayer at any given time. It was a powerful experience to witness the diversity of the Church, both in the people of God and in the uniqueness and beauty of each church and the care they put into making their altar of repose a spiritually welcoming place. 

Within that diversity, though, is the common interior posture of prayer and devotion to God, who is present to us in all places, but in a particular way in the Blessed Sacrament; who is present to us at all times, but in a particular way during Holy Week. In our world, divided by conflict, hatred, and violence, let us pray for the interior transformation that the Spirit promises us, that we might enjoy peace and new life in this season of the Resurrection.

Question for Reflection: Where has God revealed beauty and joy to you this season?

Noah is from Jacksonville, Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida in 2019 with a degree in Classics and Jewish Studies and from Yale Divinity School in 2023 with a Master of Divinity degree. Noah is serving as the Development Associate in the FMS office and is excited to contribute to the work of FMS while living out the Franciscan values of simplicity, solidarity, and hospitality.