For our family, prayer is always present, but very changeable. Our routine may change due to preference, a change in liturgical season, welcoming a baby and making prayer fit with the changing ages of our children. Though our prayer routine fluctuates often, we never go a day without praying at least a little bit.
Have a child heading off for camp or a mission trip? Preparing for a road trip? Sending a college student back to school? This prayer is a great way to keep Christ at the center of any journey you may be taking!
Litany of the Way: Prayer for the Journey
As Jesus sought the quiet of the desert, teach us to pray.
As Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, teach us to love.
As Jesus promised paradise to the thief on the cross, teach us to hope.
As Jesus called Peter to walk to him across the water, teach us to believe.
As the child Jesus sat among the elders in the temple, teach us to seek answers.
As Jesus in the garden opened his mind and heart to God’s will, teach us to listen.
As Jesus reflected on the Law and the prophets, teach us to learn.
As Jesus used parables to reveal the mysteries of the Kingdom, teach us to teach.
“On this day the Church celebrates Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem to accomplish his paschal mystery” (Roman Missal).
“Entrance” is the key to understanding the liturgy of Passion (Palm) Sunday. We enter into Jerusalem with Christ. We enter into our holiest week. We enter into our final preparation for the Easter feast.
Ordinarily when we go to Sunday Mass we enter the church one by one, as we arrive. On Palm Sunday, we enter the church together -- a grand entrance.
Usually, the community gathers in another location (outside the church, for example, or in the school hall). One of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem is proclaimed.
Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. Those preceding him as well as those following kept crying out: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come! Hosanna in the highest!” (Mark 11:8-10).
And then we “enter into” the Gospel. We go with Christ into Jerusalem. We process into the church.
Procession with Palms
This is one of our most joyful and triumphant processions of the entire year. As we gather on this Sunday we receive a branch of palm or olive (or other green plant).
What do you do with the palm branches you bring home from Palm Sunday Mass?
The branches are blessed by the priest before the procession and often kept as blessed objects in peoples’ homes. Please don't throw them (or any scrap pieces) into the trash. The proper way to dispose of blessed items is to bury them, burn them, or return them your church so they can burn them and use them next Ash Wednesday.
One of my fondest memories of Palm Sunday as a child is the quick palm cross my mom would whip each of our palms into as soon as we sat down at church. The palm crosses were a sign of how quickly our love and adoration for Jesus can turn to rejection of him through sin. Our shouts of "Hosannah!" turn to shouts of "Crucify him!" during that Mass almost as fast as my palm turned from a branch into a cross.
There was another, more practical benefit to her talent as well. Palm branches that wave during the procession quickly turn into swords, lightsabers, sky writing pens, lassos, and objects of torture in the hands of young children. The compact crosses my mom whipped out during the First Reading were not nearly as easy to poke my siblings with!
The Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion.
All Catholic parishes have depictions of Christ’s Passion and death called the Stations of the Cross, The Way of the Cross or Via Dolorosa (way of suffering) In many churches, the Stations of the Cross are depicted in stained-glass windows, but other media are used as well, including paintings and stone or wood carvings and sculptures. Often on Friday evenings during Lent, you can find a parish that’s open with Catholics meditating and saying prayers in unison before each of the 14 stations.
The Stations of the Cross is a Lenten devotion that offers witness to Jesus’ Passion and Death. Often, the Stations of the Cross is an action prayer. Catholics walk to the fourteen stations of the Way of the Cross and stop to pray at each one. At each station we use our senses and our imagination to reflect prayerfully upon Jesus’ suffering, Death, and Resurrection, and to simply experience the visual images to reflect on Christ’s love for us.
We've listed the best Way of the Cross prayer resources for...
Life makes many demands on today's families and lives are often full and hectic. Finding the time for prayer can seem difficult - especially if you aren't sure where to begin or how to pray as a family. Praying and growing together as a family is a gift that will sustain each member of your family throughout the storms of this life and one that will prepare you all for the next life.
Tip #1: Foster Your Own Prayer Life
From the newborn who sticks out her tongue after watching Mom do it, to the toddler who snags dad's phone and pretends to send a text, to the child who gathers his friends to play school, children learn best through imitation. It is no different with prayer.
Making time to foster your own prayer life and letting your children see you pray does more to teach them about the value of prayer than any book, DVD, or religion class lesson ever can...