As you begin to make plans for Holy Week with kids in your domestic church, I thought I’d share what has worked for us as a family over the years. Some of what follows is flexible and subject to change each year based on our schedules, kids’ ages and temperaments, and parental level of exhaustion, but this is the general outline of what Holy Week looks like for us as a Catholic family. Thoughts in red are new things we plan to implement with the kids this liturgical year!
Palm Sunday/Monday/Tuesday – Clean the house, top to bottom, to prepare our home for the Triduum and Easter. On Sunday, we will read this new book from Michele Chronister that I purchased last week. The explanations of the Liturgies of Holy Week are written for probably 5-7 years olds, but the lovely illustrations will delight kids of any age, and the simple summaries of each Liturgy are a great jumping off point for deeper discussions with older kids.
Spy Wednesday – Hide 30 pieces of “silver” (quarters) around the house to remember that the day before Holy Thursday, Judas betrayed Our Lord for 30 pieces of silver. Once the kids find them all, they can put them in the box for the poor at Church tomorrow evening. I shamelessly stole this idea from Catholic All Year. SHAMELESSLY.
Holy Thursday – Mass if possible, obviously. Mama takes little ones home after Mass; Daddy stays with big kids (7 and up) to pray at the Altar of Repose for a while. Supper is before Mass and is simple – naan or pitas with roast chicken & herbs, plus grape juice/wine, hummus, and olives. Not a true Passover meal, but it’s similar. All electronics stay off (with one exception, noted further down) from dusk today until Easter Sunday.
Good Friday – Hot Cross Buns for breakfast, using this recipe. Daddy reads “The Proud Tree” to the kids. Stations with either St. Anne’s Society (our parish’s mothers’ group of young children, who host a Children’s Stations of the Cross) or at home using this script for Stations. We attend the 3:00 service & Veneration of the Cross, with a discussion beforehand about why we venerate the cross with our kisses. Throughout the day, coloring sheets of the Stations usually happens. Supper is homemade falafel pitas with leftovers from last night (no meat, obviously.) We begin watching Jesus of Nazareth (1977) today. We only drink water today; when we desire other drinks, we remember that Jesus was denied even water on the Cross.
Holy Saturday – We emphasize quietness and stillness today, because the world was still while the Divine slept. Mom and the older kids read and meditate on this ancient homily from Holy Saturday. We boil and dye eggs today, with a conversation about the transformation of the eggs from boring to beautiful and how eggs represent new life. Coloring eggs reminds us that we have a new, more vibrant Life in Christ. We make sure the kids get naps today…because Easter Vigil. Watch some more of Jesus of Nazareth. Before Vigil Mass, we discuss what will happen in detail and answer any questions the kids may have. Upon returning from Vigil, we make Resurrection Cookies and unveil our covered statues and religious art that has been shrouded since the beginning of Passiontide. Yes, this means a very late night for us!
Easter Sunday – HE IS RISEN AS HE SAID! ALLELUIA! Arise and read the Easter story. Easter baskets, open the oven to check the cookies, and mimosas for mom & dad (HEY-O!) Mass at some point this morning, depending on what the schedule is for the day. After Mass, everyone naps (because late night!) Easter feast prep begins. We eat, then egg hunt. Then, wrap up the day with final part of Jesus of Nazareth.
***This year, I want to try to start Jesus of Nazareth a bit earlier in the week so that it’s a bit more digestable.
What does Holy Week look like for your family? I love learning about new traditions – share them with us in the comments!