Making Holy Week Memorable

Last Updated Aug 2012

By Lorene Hanley Duquin

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

The first three days of Holy Week are traditionally days of preparation for the great feast of Easter.

Let everyone help with housecleaning. This custom of spring housecleaning evolved from the Jewish custom of ritual cleaning before Passover.

Take Away: What are you preparing for as a family? As you clean, talk about the days ahead in Holy Week and how the overall season of Lent has been for your family this year. Has it been particularly challenging or fruitful?

Holy Thursday

On Holy Thursday we recall the Last Supper that Jesus shared with His disciples, and the powerful lesson He taught about service when He washed their feet.

Attend the Holy Thursday Mass in your parish, which recalls the Last Supper.

Take Away: On the way home from Mass on Holy Thursday, talk about the ritual of washing feet. What does this gesture teach us about service to one another? Are there any ways you “wash the feet” of others each day?

Good Friday

Good Friday is the somber remembrance of the day the Jesus died on the cross. Attend the daytime or evening Good Friday services in your parish.

Suggest to your family that in addition to fasting and abstaining from meat on Good Friday that you abstain from television and computers as well.

Take Away: If members of your family gave something up this Lent, talk about the experience of “going without.” Was it really difficult or surprisingly easy? Ask: Might we consider giving this up beyond Lent?  If not, what power does this hold in our lives?

Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday is traditionally the final day of preparation for the great feast of Easter. The Easter Vigil that takes place on Holy Saturday night is the high point in the Church calendar. The Paschal candle that is lit at the Easter Vigil will remain in the church throughout the year as a sign of Christ’s death and resurrection.

Volunteer as a family to help clean and decorate your parish church for Easter.

Take Away: Talk about the symbols that we use in our church liturgies — fire, water, oil, light and darkness. What emotions do these symbols bring forth in us? What is the church teaching us through the use of these signs and symbols?

Easter Sunday

This is a day of great rejoicing!

Attend Mass together as a family and thank God for all of the good things that have arisen in your family’s life over the past year.

Take Away: During your Easter Sunday meal, talk about why it is important to be thankful for the gifts God has given us. Why do we rejoice on Easter Sunday and sing “Alleluia”? Who is the greatest gift of all?