Sunday, March 29, 2015

Observing Your Way Through Holy Week for Busy Families

Holy Week is here. Lent is coming to a close, and we are almost ready to celebrate the Feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord. For me, the days in Holy Week are one of the most beautiful parts of celebrating Easter.

All of Lent has been spent reflecting and repenting; hopefully, if we've been doing it right, we are focussing more and more on Christ and what He did for us. But this week, especially, we are invited to lean all the way in and walk with Him in the journey to the Cross, keep vigil as He lays in the tomb, and utterly stand back in awe at Christ's conquering of death and the grave on Easter morning. How much more exciting can our Faith get?

Here we are at Palm Sunday, and after possibly breaking up sword fights with palm branches, and shushing small voices during this morning's epic Gospel, you might be dreading all the long masses this week promises. How can we bring the deep lessons of this week into the day to day? How can we share the beauty of Christ's passion with our youngest saints in the making?

I love making the Liturgical Year come alive in our home, but honestly, you'll find me on most solemnities printing off a coloring sheet and reading a story out of one of our saint books. This isn't bad or wrong in any way, but for Holy Week, I like each day to have a moment of learning, of training the young souls I've been entrusted with to focus as much as they can. This is a week of preparation, of compassion, of stillness. Anyone who has small children about knows these words are pretty much in opposition to the daily reality.



For both Advent and the 12 Days of Christmas, I came up with simple and doable day by day ideas, and I wanted to do that again for this coming week. Here is what I've come up with. May this be a starting point for you to embrace your own pace for moving through this week.


March 29 // Palm Sunday

Picked up many, many palm branches during mass this morning? Try your hand at making palm crosses or even try out one of these many other ideas Lacy over at Catholic Icing has featured. I'm pretty much at the cross level of craftiness, but you might be way more skilled. I'm thinking my 5 year old can join in, and the 3 year old can watch this year or have LOTS of help.

Perhaps after dinner each night this week, you can read from a children's bible (or just the family bible) parts of the Passion narrative. Start with Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem for today!

Haley of Carrots for Michaelmas wrote this haunting piece last year for Palm Sunday - give it a read again as we get ready to plunge into Holy Week.


March 30 // Monday of Holy Week

Make pretzelsCatholic Culture has a great write up for why we eat pretzels during Lent. Think snack time, religious ed, and cooking lessons all rolled up in one activity.


March 31 // Tuesday of Holy Week

Do some spring cleaning around the house in preparation for Easter. Listen to some somber Lenten music while doing so and try to keep your focus on Christ and how vast His love for you is.



Lent At Ephesus by the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles is one of my favorites for Lent. You can find the album on Spotify, too!
Some of my friends from Ireland released an album last year that is perfect for Holy Week. It is so beautiful, perhaps not as somber as the Sisters but just as fitting. You can buy it here or listen on Spotify.



April 1 // Wednesday of Holy Week

Encourage some good works around the house to get those last Sacrifice Beans in. Or make today a meat free day and put the money saved into your CRS rice bowl.



April 2 // Holy Thursday

Cuddle up and read some Easter books. Our favorites can be found rounded up into this list.



If you want to try some food themed observing, Shower of Roses has this Holy Thursday Lenten Dinner or you could do a variation of this Story of the Passion Lunch from Catholic Icing.

Have a foot washing service in your home, washing one another's feet keying in on how Christ came to serve and asks the same of us.


April 3 // Good Friday

Pray the Stations of the Cross. Our city has an outdoor Stations and Chaplet of Divine Mercy walk to pray in front of an abortion clinic. Perhaps your area has something similar or another way to specially take note of Good Friday.

Hot Cross buns are a simple, traditional snack perfect for today. I've tried several recipes, and since I can never remember which one I follow, I suggest just Googling for one.

Read all or part of T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets (this one is more for the adults and maybe older kids).

Kendra over at Catholic All Year wrote this fantastic piece on how to talk to young kids about the Crucifixion. The Passion of Our Lord includes many intense subjects that probably don't come up in everyday conversation, and Kendra has great ideas for how to approach it without omitting the sadness and horribleness of it all.


April 4 // Holy Saturday

We try to keep things quiet around our house on Holy Saturday, focussing on doing family activities to prepare for Easter. One of our favorite things to do is dye our Easter eggs. The past several years we have been using only homemade natural dyes and it's now the preferred method. The boys love guessing what color the cabbage or the onion skins might color our eggs.

Here is our method. Don't forget to try white and brown eggs for more color variation!



David and I have been switching out who attends the Vigil Mass. This year is my turn, and I am thinking of taking Dominic, who is 5, along. I know some are brave enough to bring all their kids, but as most Sunday masses have Adrian fussing 50% or more of the time, I am just not there yet. If you do take your kids, I'd love some tips for the future!


Other ideas I've been collecting over the years can be found on my Lent + Easter Pinterest board.

               Follow Sarah's board domestic church :: lent + Easter on Pinterest.

Any ideas and traditions your family has, I would love to hear, so please tell me what you do! I hope your family is blessed this coming week!



Art by Bronzino, 16th century, Florence, Italy

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This post Observing Your Way Through Holy Week for Busy Families first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 29 March 2015


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