Holy Week @home
During Holy Week, the Church celebrates the mysteries of salvation accomplished by Christ in the last days of his earthly life, beginning with the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. For nearly 40 days, the Christian faithful have practiced the disciplines of Lent: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Now the Church invites us to an even deeper spirit of prayer as we follow Christ on his journey to the Cross.
Traditions - especially those children can see, hear, feel, smell and taste -- provide vivid and lasting impressions for all members of the family. Take advantage of all the 'smells and bells' of Holy Week to help everyone in your family celebrate the holiest time of year.
Here are five suggestions for families to use this week as an opportunity to grow in holiness as individuals and as a family.
- What do you do with the palm branches you bring home from Palm Sunday Mass? Consider a simple ceremony to place them in your home. See our Palm Sunday post for a suggested ritual.
- During the week, pray the seven Penitential Psalms together (Psalm 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143). These are especially appropriate during Lent. Prayerfully reciting these psalms helps us to recognize our sinfulness, express our sorrow, and ask for God’s forgiveness.
- Celebrate the Sacrament of Penance if you haven’t already done so during Lent (How To Go to Confession). Many parishes have extra hours and/or communal penance services during Holy Week.
- Attend a service together on Holy Thursday and/or Good Friday. On Thursday, the Church recall the Last Supper and Jesus’ gift of his Body and Blood. On Friday, parishes hold services to celebrate the Passion of the Lord; many have Stations of the Cross as well.
What about little ones? Can they sit through these sometimes long services? This liturgy director offers some practical insights and suggestions: 10 Ways to Help Children Appreciate the Triduum.
- On Holy Saturday, pray for those who will be received into the Catholic Church during the Easter Vigil. Pray, too, for a deepening of your own faith and the grace to endure the suffering and celebrate the joys of married life.
Additional Suggested Resources:
- Your Guide to Holy Week (PDF) Download this great guide offering brief explanations of the history, traditions, and symbols of Holy Week along with 12 practical suggestions for making Holy Week meaningful.
- 25 Things for Your Kids to Spot During Palm Sunday and Triduum Preview the special liturgies of Palm Sunday and the Triduum with your kids so they can participate with understanding and reverence. Here’s a handy checklist, plus a printable version your kids can take with them.
- 15 Ways to Observe Holy WeekIdeas for busy families with children of all ages.
- Stations of the Cross The Stations of the Cross are a great prayer to do as a family. This guide will help you find the right tool to participate even if you've never done them before!
Adapted from an article originally published on the For Your Marriage website.
Copyright © 2015, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Used with permission.