Holy Week begins with Jesus’ journey into Jerusalem to hosannas and shouts of joy. Let us call upon this joyful mindset as we prepare to celebrate this week at home, and open our minds to the creative ways the domestic Church can engage in a prayerful Holy Week. Here are a few activities and resources to inspire our celebrations.
Worshipping from Home: Prepare for Holy Week
Watch this brief video with your family to learn about the significance of Holy Week and what happened to Jesus in his final days on earth. Watch a livestream of today’s Mass and refer to the schedule of Holy Week livestreams for services throughout the week.
Encounter: The Significance of Anointing
In today’s Gospel we learn of Mary anointing Jesus’ feet with very costly perfumed oil. Watch the livestreamed Chrism Mass, learn about the sacred oils and reflect on the significance of the anointing of your family members.
- When have you been anointed? (Ex: Baptism, Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick)
- What do you remember or what do others remember about these events?
- Share some pictures or items from your baptism or confirmation. Discuss how this anointing empowers you as a disciple of Jesus Christ and a member of his Church.
Grow: Make Homemade Bread for Thursday
- How do you think the disciples felt when Jesus changed the Passover prayer and told them to eat his body and drink his blood?
- If you’ve received your First Communion, what is it like to receive Jesus in the Eucharist? If you haven’t yet received your First Communion, what do you think it will be like to receive Jesus in this way?
- How can we as a family better appreciate the gift of the Eucharist?
Witness: Make a Cross for Friday
Today’s activity will help you to prepare for your family’s celebration of Good Friday. Cut a large cross out of cardboard or paper to display in the main room of your home or in your front window. Have each family member trace their hand on a piece of colored paper. Cut out each handprint and ask each family member to write their name on it. Save the handprints for the Good Friday activity later this week. These handprints symbolize each family members’ sins, and they will be attached to the cross on Good Friday to help us remember that Jesus died for our personal sins.
Encounter: Foot-Washing at Home
Prepare a space for this activity. You’ll need towels for drying the feet and for the floor, a chair, a pitcher or large glass of warm water and a basin or large bowl. Prepare the space with a towel on the floor and a chair on top of that. Have the other items nearby. When someone gets their feet washed, have them sit in the chair and place their feet over the bowl. Pour the water on their feet and dry them with a towel. Optionally, you may also kiss the tops of their feet before you help them out of the chair. You may also watch the Mass of the Lord’s Supper here.
Grow: Celebrate Good Friday and Prepare for Easter
After the Solemn Remembrance of the Lord’s Passion, families may consider preparing for Easter with activities like making a Paschal candle. Each year at the Easter Vigil, the parish prepares a new Paschal candle. It reminds us of our eternal life in Jesus Christ. The Paschal Candle is lit during Mass on Easter through the feast of the Ascension of our Lord and during baptisms. The Paschal candle in a parish has four decorative features: the cross, the Alpha (A) and Omega (Ω) symbols, the numbers of the current calendar year and the five grains of incense, which symbolize the 5 wounds of Jesus.
You may additionally consider decorating Easter eggs to celebrate Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday. We see colored eggs everywhere this time of year! Why eggs? Easter eggs are symbols of the Risen Christ. As a chick breaks the shell when it is hatched and begins life, so our Lord comes forth living from the tomb. Jesus has conquered death!
Witness: Decorate Your Home for Easter and Bless Easter Baskets
Just as parishes prepare the church with beautiful decorations for the celebration of Easter, families are invited to do the same in their home. You can decorate in spring colors, but also consider the liturgical colors of gold and white. Consider creative options for crafting some decorations among your family.
Additionally, Prepare an Easter basket that contains special foods you will serve at your Easter table. Invite the head of the household to pray the following prayer over the basket:
Christ, the Living Bread,
you came down from heaven and
gave the gift of the Eucharist to the world.
Bless our bread that recalls both the manna
with which the Father fed the Israelites
as they wandered in the desert,
and the bread with which you miraculously fed
those who followed you in the wilderness.
Lamb of God,
you who conquered death
and redeemed us from our sins,
bless the meats, sausages and all the foods
that we eat in memory of the Paschal Lamb,
who shared the Passover meal
with His Apostles at the last Supper.
Bless the salt and,
as salt keeps food from spoiling,
protect us from the corruption of sin.
Christ, our life and our hope,
bless the eggs,
a symbol of new life,
that we will share with
each other and thus, share with them
the joy of your presence among us.
Invite us to your eternal feast,
the heavenly banquet,
where You live and reign forever and ever.
You may also gather as a family to watch Archbishop Vigneron’s celebration of the Easter Vigil
Worshipping from Home: Happy Easter!
Tune into the Mass from the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament and refer to 52 Sundays for Easter activities to share with your family.