Tradition Continues: Nine Churches Walk

Posted March 19, 2024 / Last updated March 27, 2024

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In the heart of New Orleans—a city steeped in Catholic heritage and boasting a unique ecclesiastical landscape—the numerous Catholic churches within walking distance of one another stand as a testament to the area’s profound religious roots. This dense concentration of historic parishes has enabled generations of Catholics to partake in the annual Nine Churches Walk, a tradition with origins in Rome. For centuries, worshippers have engaged in this miniature pilgrimage, tracing the Way of the Cross, as a profound act of faith. Good Friday, thus, invites believers to affirmatively acknowledge Christ’s suffering and to find meaning in their own, contributing to the salvation of the world.

In alignment with this sacred observance, the Jesuit High School community annually participates in the Nine Churches Walk. This pilgrimage leads participants through churches steeped in the history of New Orleans, each showcasing remarkable architecture. At every stop, attendees have the opportunity to hear about the church’s history from pilgrimage historian Brandon Briscoe ’98. The journey through each church includes praying one or two Stations of the Cross, enriched by reflections authored in 2005 by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. This spiritual voyage from one station church to the next offers moments of prayer and reflection, allowing the community to walk in the footsteps of Jesus.

Pilgrimage Details

The procession will begin at 8:30am at Holy Name of Jesus Church on St. Charles Ave. and will follow the order of churches listed below.

Although Good Friday is a fasting day, participants may choose to bring a light snack and water for the walk. It is also recommended to check the weather forecast for the appropriate dress, noting that sunscreen or a hat may be helpful. Participants should also be prepared to walk 5-6 miles through the course of the morning. The walk ends at Immaculate Conception Jesuit Church around 1:30 p.m., and participants should arrange their own ride back to their vehicles after the walk.

Churches Visited

Holy Name of Jesus6367 St Charles Ave
St. Francis of Assisi631 State St.
St. Stephen’s Church1045 Napoleon Ave.
St. Henry’s Church812 General Pershing St.
Our Lady of Good Counsel Church1235 Louisiana Ave.
St. Mary’s Assumption Church919 Josephine St.
St. Theresa of Avila Church1404 Erato St.
St. Patrick’s Church724 Camp St.
Immaculate Conception Jesuit Church130 Baronne St.

The origins of the Nine Churches Walk, like most traditions in New Orleans, are somewhat obscure. Some sources say that the number of churches reflects the tradition of praying nine days of a novena for a particular petition. Others cite the tradition in Rome of praying the Stations of the Cross at a different church on each of the forty days in Lent. Whatever the origins, the tradition manifests the vibrancy of the Catholic faith for centuries in Louisiana as an integral part of the region’s culture.

For more information, list of churches, stations, prayer, and meditation, please visit: