How We Do the Triduum: Good Friday, Holy Saturday

by | Mar 26, 2013 | April, Cooking, Lent, Lent, Liturgical Living, Parenting, Seasonal | 3 comments

Yesterday I wrote about what we do for Holy Thursday.  (I had intended to write about what we do for the whole Triduum, but, as usual, it got a little long, so here’s the second installment.)

Good Friday is meant to be a solemn and somber day.  But little kids are NOT meant to be solemn and somber.  So what to do?  Well, as with all things combining Catholicism and little kids, we get creative and stay flexible.

Good Friday really is the one day of the year when I try, all day but most especially from noon to three, to keep my children from running around like a bunch of crazy baboons.  And that takes some advance planning.

I have resisted making hot cross buns in the past, mostly because I was scared of yeast breads (not anymore!), but also because they seemed awfully sweet and tasty for such a sad day.  But the Pioneer Woman’s reminiscing:

Not to mention her photos . . . 

and this:

I’m a sucker for old-timey-ness.

have convinced me that this is the year to give them a try.  Hey, how many of these do you think would add up to a full meal?  ‘Cause then, I could subtract ONE from that and just eat these until dinner.

We spend the morning hours that we would usually be doing school or at parkday doing unpleasant chores.  I find that this is the perfect day to do things like take all the books and knick knacks off of the shelves and dust them, or organize the toy closet, or rake out the chicken coop.  The key is to give the kids individual, age-appropriate chores, then bounce between them helping where necessary and keeping them on track and away from each other.  MY Good Friday sacrifice is being helpful and pleasant and not thinking about how much faster *I* could do all of this if I just put on a movie for them.

We have a light lunch, then head over to church at noon to see the empty adoration chapel and kiss the cross. We don’t stay a long time, but I think it’s important to stop by since we are able. Then we come back home and read Jesus’ passion from our Children’s Bible before naptime.

During naptime, I have a quiet craft set up for the kids.  Stations of the Cross coloring pages are always nice (these are my favorite, there are some other options at Catholic Icing).  Or something like a simple cross craft that the big kids can do quietly on their own, so I can have some quiet time of my own.

After three o’clock, once the little ones are up from naps, I’ll often put on this movie for them:

The Miracle Maker – The Story of Jesus

Then it’s time for our last Stations of the Cross of the year.  (For more details on how we do Station of the Cross for kids, see here.)  Instead of our usual Soup and Stations, my mom (a transplant from Memphis, TN) cooks up a real southern catfish fry.  

It’s simple, in keeping with the tone of the day, we serve cole slaw and cornbread alongside it and water to drink.  But you can’t help but enjoy it A LOT after a day of fasting, and I like that it seems different from the other Fridays of our Lent, because it IS different from the other Fridays of Lent. Every couple of years we’ll watch The Passion of the Christ once the kids go to bed.  It’s hard to watch, but good to understand.

We spend the day on Holy Saturday taking down the Lent decorations and putting up the Easter decorations, and dyeing Easter eggs.

At Nana and Grandad’s house

Little kids go to bed early and, for the past couple of years, Jack has been the only one who got to come with us to the Vigil. He LOVES it because of the fire, the candles, the drums, the staying up past his bedtime WITHOUT the rest of the kids, AND the all-dessert reception afterwards in honor of the newly baptised!  Maybe Betty will get to come this year too or maybe we’ll skip it, we don’t know anyone going through RCIA this year (we all go together as a family in the morning).

Then we hurry home and get to bed so the Easter Bunny can come and leave baskets of goodies and change our Lenten Sacrifice Beans into Jelly Beans.  Hooray! and Alle . . . (oops, not yet)!

Have a Holy Triduum (May your gubernatorial ladle never spill on your trousers.  [hooray for words] ) and a Blessed Easter.  I’ll be back on Easter Monday!


  1. Chris

    Hey there-
    Love this list of activities….
    And as an aside, your kitchen is SO cool. Thanks for sharing…have a blessed Holy Week, Kendra; so happy I found your blog during the Keep Love in Lent carnival!

  2. Nanacamille

    Those are all such wonderful activities for kids at Holy Week and the advantage of home schooling. I had to be a bit more creative when you and your sister were growing up. You went to public school and CCD so your "spring vacation" was Holy Week. We always made time to recognize the Lord's Passion even if it was from somewhere with a beautiful beach or snowy ski mountain.

  3. Anonymous

    I know this is a year old, so I don't know if you will see this, but..

    We (my fiance and I) are in RCIA this year, and we have a very active 4 year old son. Our RCIA team is encouraging us to attend all of the Triduum, which we would love to, except I am not sure it is the right setting for a hyper 4 year old. We do not have close enough friends or family to stay with him, so we were contemplating skipping Holy Thursday and Good Friday for the sake of our sanity, but I felt so guilty. It is nice to see there are ways to celebrate, without going to the services, that incorporate littles.
    Perhaps another year. A pieces of me would truly love to go to all of the Triduum services.


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Hi! I’m Kendra.

For twenty years now, I’ve been using food, prayer, and conversation based around the liturgical calendar to share the lives of the saints and the beautiful truths and traditions of our Catholic faith. My own ten children, our friends and neighbors, and people just like you have been on this journey with me.

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