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Simple Holy Week Ideas

None of us imagined that our Holy Week would resemble the one that is fast approaching. Typically, we set aside intentional time to gather at different liturgies throughout the week--Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil/Easter Sunday Mass. It is a week of walking alongside Jesus in those last moments of earthly life, witnessing his profound and all-encompassing love for us. Attending these liturgies, complete with their own unique moments and gestures, allow for us to actively participate in this yearly reminder of God's love for us and for the world.

This is year different. Very, very different. We approach this Holy week prepared by a Lenten season that has brought us to our knees. We are each experiencing a collective grief of "what was" and anxiety surrounding "what will be" in the future. Collective, yet profoundly individual--a great mystery of suffering. No Holy week liturgies to participate in. No community to walk with. We may experience a loneliness, a sadness of not being able to remember in the "usual" way. Yet, God calls us still.

Our hearts stand ready as we walk into Palm Sunday alongside Jesus--ready to help him carry his cross, to experience his suffering, and witness to the joy of his Resurrection.

Below, you will find a few simple things you and your family can do during Holy Week. Simple is what I'm going for here. It can be tempting to try to fill our time with various tasks and prayer experiences for your family. My encouragement? Challenge yourself to just be. Make space. Make silence. Practice the art of enjoying God's presence and inviting your family to do the same.


Palm Sunday

"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 11:9b-10

Family Prayer:

Watch Mass online or on TV.

Discuss how each family member can help "prepare the way" for Jesus this week. What is one thing we are going to focus on during this Holy Week?


Holy Thursday

"If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

-John 13:15

Family Prayer on Thursday night:

Opening Prayer: Lord, you have called us together as a family to remember your last moments here on earth. Help us to open our hearts and minds to you in order to draw close to you in these most Sacred days. Amen.

Read Scripture: John 13:1-15

Family Washing of Feet:

Have a bowl of warm water and a towel available. Have each family member sit in a chair and take turns washing each other's feet.

Reflection Questions:

Why do you think Jesus washed the disciple's feet?

What was he calling his disciples to do? How can they serve?

What were you feeling during our family washing of feet?

How do you think we can serve one another?

Closing Prayer:

Lord, help us to continue to reflect on this words that you give to us---help us to serve you and serve one another with your heart. As we dive deeper into these next few days, help us to continue to think about how we can serve you and each other in a deeper way. We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.


Good Friday

"I am He." -John 18:5b

Family Prayer:

Set aside time today for silence in your home. Keep the screens off. Use this article as a guide for how to encourage silence in your home with your children--make it a game!

Then, at 3pm, come together as a family for a brief time for prayer. You can pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet together or listen to the song version.


Holy Saturday

"You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene,who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here." Mark 16:6

Family Prayer Time on Saturday Night:

Set the scene: Turn off the lights and find a large candle to place on a table or prayer space in your home. Give each member of your family a smaller candle.

Start in silence and darkness.


These last few days we have remembered Jesus' last moments here on earth. We remember his great love for each one of us. When he died, it seemed like the Light of the World was gone. That darkness won. But is that true? No. This Holy night, we celebrate the joy of Jesus' Resurrection.

Light the big candle.

Leader: Each one of us experiences this Resurrection when we receive the Light of Christ ourselves---at our Baptism.

Light each person's candle.

Leader: Christ has died, but He is Risen! Alleluia!

Everyone: He is Risen indeed, Alleluia!

Then, you are encouraged to watch Easter Vigil Mass online or on TV.


Easter Sunday

Family Prayer Time:

Read Easter Sunday's Gospel: John 20:1-9 Participate in Sunday Mass online or on TV and....

Celebrate for Christ is Risen! Alleluia!

"We are an Easter People and Alleluia is our song!" -Pope Saint John Paul the Great

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