Well, you’ve done it. You AND your children have, somehow, against all odds, survived through to these last few days of Lent. Though for a while there, it looked like you might succumb to acute lack of coffee / Netflix / Facebook, you’ve made it. And now you need to figure out how to make Holy Week solemn, meaningful, and memorable for your kids. Without a whole lot of effort or advance planning on your part.
Um. I’m not sure that’s possible. But I WILL tell you what WE are going to attempt and that I haven’t started any of it yet.
In an attempt to not totally freak everyone out, I’ll also include the first things we did, when I only had little kids and we were first learning how to live the liturgical year in our home.
Monday of Holy Week
Clean the House Part I: Clean out the toys. This is a great time for a BIG toy purge. We did a big playroom toy clean out on Ash Wednesday, and it has been a HUGE blessing in less mess, less cleaning, less yelling, and more family interaction. I can’t recommend it enough.
Since we’ve done the playroom already this Lent, we’re going to spend Monday getting the treasures in the bedrooms down to a more manageable level.
I’ll also finish up our Easter baskets. I’m focusing this year on practical, lovely things that won’t fill our house back up with junk. Each child is getting a new pair of shoes, a new swimsuit, two new Usborne books, and some candy.
Try It! Tidy a couple rooms of the house. Because it’s tradition. Buy candy and toys for Easter baskets.
Tuesday of Holy Week
Clean the House Part II: Clean out the clothes. I plan to pull the clothes out of each closet, and only put back in a reasonable amount.
We do laundry nearly every day, so we have much, much more in the closets than we actually use. It’s time to pass it along to people who could actually use it. AND make our closets a little more manageable.
I’ll also finalize the guest list for our Good Friday Fish Fry and Easter Sunday Dinner, and make up my shopping lists for the food we’ll need for the rest of the week.
Try It! Tidy a couple more rooms of the house. Figure out what you are doing for Easter dinner.
Clean the House Part III: Playroom will get re-organized, and counters cleaned off. And as much deep cleaning as I can manage with a baby, will get done. The chicken coop will get cleaned. Kids will help.
This is the day Judas betrayed Jesus, selling the information of when he would be in a place where he could be conveniently arrested to the high priest for thirty pieces of silver.
We’ll read the story in the Bible. (Matthew 26:1-16)
And I’ll hide thirty pieces of silver (quarters) in one area of the house for the kids to find.
We did it last year, and
I have to say it was an interesting social experiment. My (somewhat) kind and pleasant kids turned into a bunch of Judases themselves. They pushed past each other, grabbed quarters that other kids had spotted first but couldn’t reach, and the baby got knocked over A LOT. All over 30 pieces of silver.
For more, and more photos, see this post.
Try It! Finish tidying the house. Do your grocery shopping for the rest of the week. Read the story of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus from the Bible to your kids. (Matthew 26:1-16)
We’ll attempt the Seven Churches Visitation. Hopefully Lulu will stand for it. Last year we did it, but last year we didn’t have a baby.
Then, we’ll come home and prepare our Last Supper Dinner. In the past, we’ve done a Seder meal, like this one at Equipping Catholic Families, but for the last couple of years, we’ve been content to have lamb chops, a bitter herb salad, flat bread, applesauce, and knishes (I’ve made them from scratch in the past, but this year’s are going to come from Costco).
On Holy Thursday we commemorate something happy (the Institution of the Eucharist) along with the sad (Jesus’ agony and arrest). So in addition to our bitter herbs, of which the kids must have a little, we also have a Rice Crispy Lamb Cake.
Then we attend a Holy Thursday Mass (as long as we can find one that’s not too late for our littles) and come home for a family foot-washing extravaganza. We draw names and everyone washes and gets washed.
If we need something to do later, we might re-watch The Prince of Egypt
. It covers the ten plagues and the Passover, so it’s especially appropriate for the day, is a really wonderful movie, AND is on Netflix streaming.
Good Friday is meant to be a day of fasting and of solemn reflection. My kids aren’t very good at that. And, frankly, neither am I. But we do our best.
We’ll visit the empty Adoration Chapel and venerate the cross.
We’ll have a light lunch and read aloud from the Bible the story of the Passion, Crucifixion, and Death of Our Lord. (Matthew 27:11-66)
During nap time, I’ll give the older kids a quiet craft or project, like Stations of the Cross coloring pages. .
After naps, I often put this movie on for the kids:
|The Miracle Maker – The Story of Jesus|
If you’ve got Amazon prime, there’s still time to order it!
We always invite friends over for a simple Lenten Catfish Fry in honor of my mom’s southern heritage, and we do the Stations of the Cross.
In the Evening, the grownups will probably watch The Passion of the Christ.
Post to check out:
We DO NOT Attend Easter Egg Hunts.
We DO dye our Easter Eggs, take down all our Lent decorations, decorate for Easter, and begin preparations for Easter dinner.
If we have some extra time, we’ll get out of the house for a hike or a walk to keep the house from getting messed-up again.
We take just the big kids with us (Nana or Grandad usually volunteers to babysit the little ones) to the Vigil Mass, and THIS year my dear friend Tami is being received into the church, so it will be extra awesome!
The Easter Bunny comes and fills the Easter Baskets and changes our Lenten Sacrifice Beans into Jelly Beans.
Try it! Don’t attend any Easter Egg Hunts. Dye Eggs. Remove Lent decorations. Decorate for Easter. Begin preparing for Easter dinner. Watch The Robe .
We find that our Lenten Sacrifice Beans have been turned to jelly beans. We have our baskets and an Easter Egg Hunt, and get all dressed up to go to Mass as a family and have a big lovely Ham Dinner.
And I’m going to be having a couple Dr. Peppers. At least.
Post to check out:
Did I miss anything? What will you be doing for Holy Week?