Watch, Walk and Pray: Young adults are invited to Holy Thursday pilgrimage in Seattle

  • Written by Nathan Whalen
  • Published in Local
Young adults journey through the First Hill area of Seattle during the 2016 Holy Thursday Young Adult Pilgrimage. The 2018 pilgrimage begins at 8 p.m. March 29 at St. James Cathedral. Photo: Courtesy Archdiocese of Seattle Young adults journey through the First Hill area of Seattle during the 2016 Holy Thursday Young Adult Pilgrimage. The 2018 pilgrimage begins at 8 p.m. March 29 at St. James Cathedral. Photo: Courtesy Archdiocese of Seattle

SEATTLE – Young adults from Bellingham to Vancouver are coming to Seattle for the seventh annual Holy Thursday Young Adult Pilgrimage, with the theme “Watch, Walk and Pray.”

On March 29, after the 6 p.m. Mass of the Lord’s Supper at St. James Cathedral, they will embark on a four-hour journey of prayer, song, Scripture readings, advocacy and fellowship as they walk a pilgrimage route around Seattle’s First Hill area.

Archbishop J. Peter Sartain and Auxiliary Bishops Eusebio Elizondo and Daniel Mueggenborg are participating in the pilgrimage, expected to begin about 8 p.m. and conclude around midnight. Young adults (ages 18–39) can participate in the entire pilgrimage, or join it at the various stops along the way.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to come together with other people around my age,” said Annapatrice Johnson, a member of St. Joseph Parish in Seattle, who has attended the last three pilgrimages. It’s also a chance for young adults to learn about the Catholic faith and service, said Johnson, western region director for the Maryknoll Society and a team leader for its young adult outreach and church engagement division. 

This year’s pilgrimage is a response to Pope Francis’s call to Share the Journey with the most vulnerable, including migrants and refugees who are fleeing war, poverty and persecution.

Holy Thursday candlesYoung adults light candles during the 2016 Holy Thursday Young Adult Pilgrimage in Seattle. This year’s pilgrimage is a response to Pope Francis’s call to Share the Journey with the most vulnerable, including migrants and refugees who are fleeing war, poverty and persecution. Photo: Courtesy Archdiocese of Seattle


Based on the Holy Thursday tradition of visiting seven basilicas in Rome, the Seattle pilgrimage will make stops at St. Mary Church, Immaculate Conception Church and St. Ignatius Chapel at Seattle University before returning to the cathedral.

At each stop, pilgrims will sing a Taizé prayer, listen to a speaker, learn of a call to action and spend time before the Blessed Sacrament.  

As many as 350 young adults have participated in past years, according to Edwin Ferrera, the archdiocese’s director of multicultural youth and young adult ministry. The evening is a way for young adults to pray and interact with the bishops during the time that marks Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection, Ferrera said. He outlined the events planned for each of the pilgrimage’s stops:

  • At St. Mary’s, a young woman who is registered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will speak about how her faith sustains her during difficult times. Afterward, pilgrims will spend 10–15 minutes with the Blessed Sacrament, and they will be asked to attend a cultural community Mass in the future.
  • At Immaculate Conception, Bishop Mueggenborg will speak about his experiences as an immigrant in Italy and growing up in the U.S. as the grandson of German immigrants. Participants will be asked to sign up for alerts from the Washington State Catholic Conference.
  • At St. Ignatius Chapel, Johnson will share her experiences working with immigrants and refugees in the U.S., Ireland and Uganda. She will talk about how the relationships she has developed with immigrants and the poor and homeless — “people generally overlooked by society that we are called to see and notice” — have enriched her life and helped deepen her faith. The pilgrims will be asked to consider donating to Catholic charities or Catholic Relief Services, or giving time to Catholic Community Services.

Learn more about the Holy Thursday Young Adult Pilgrimage in English and Spanish.