Celebrating Holy Week as a Family

Holy Week can be a great time to celebrate family traditions that help to make this week special and holy for you and your kids. Beginning with Palm Sunday and the procession with palms, Holy Week brings us on a journey through Christ’s Passion and offers many opportunities for children to get involved and learn about the Faith.

Being a part of the Palm Sunday procession is a fantastic way for kids to experience the joy of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. It’s also a great way for younger kids, who may have a difficult time sitting still during Mass, to actively participate in this special liturgy. The reading of the Passion, although longer than the usual Gospel reading, allows kids to participate in the Gospel in a unique way.

Praying the Gospels each day is a “wonderful thing that families can be doing this week. … This is something the family can do at the dinner table, to read that aloud and then to pray it. There’s something about having the Gospels be familiar in our life that makes it a little easier for our children. And we see a journey in scripture this week as we journey towards the cross and the Resurrection,” says Lisa Hendey of CatholicMom.com.

If you, your spouse or another family member entered the Church through the RCIA program, Holy Week is also a time to celebrate the anniversary of when that person received the sacraments. The Holy Saturday Easter Vigil serves as a beautiful time to remember the great gift of that person coming into full communion with the Catholic Church.

A listener called in to share her family’s favorite Holy Week tradition of having their Easter baskets and food blessed on Holy Saturday at their cathedral in Philadelphia. This is a tradition celebrated in many dioceses across the country. “We bless our egg, butter, cheese, ham, paska … pretty much everything that we’re going to eat at our first Easter meal on Easter morning. On Saturday, we still keep a fast—in the Ukrainian Catholic church it’s Friday and Saturday. We can go to confession … and you can get on your knees and walk up to the tomb of Jesus.”