Holy Week... at Home.
It's the last thing I would normally be recommending to families- usually I encourage everyone to attend as much of the Liturgy during Holy Week as possible. But most of us will live through our first Holy Week without the Sacraments this year. As a teacher and a DRE, I am not only preparing my own heart, but also thinking about the families that I work to support.
So as I've be planning, this is what I've come up with. Holy Week and the Triduum are the most beautiful retreat Catholics are invited to partake in each year. Because of the suspension of public Masses in the US and across the world, the way we celebrate is obviously going to look very different. I decided to make a calendar of the week filled with ideas for each day that we can share with our families. We are blessed that the internet is filled with SO MANY incredible resources for liturgical living... but let's be honest, that can be overwhelming, especially if you are jumping in for the first time. I wanted to limit things down to a starting point for families, and offer activities that would work well for a variety of ages. I pulled together some of my favorites to go along with the Gospel Readings from this year and created a one page schedule to share with my students' families.
The schedule includes:
-Suggestions for Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday
-Spots to list recommendations for viewing Mass online (EWTN, local church, etc.)
-Suggested Scripture reading from the Gospel of the day
-List of FREE activities including:
-Videos (all on YouTube or Formed, which has a free trial right now)
-Song or music playlist
I'm going to share this Holy Week Retreat schedule with you in an editable format (on Google Slides). You can make a copy or download it (use in Microsoft PowerPoint) and edit it to fit the needs of your home, classroom, parish, or school. Then save as a pdf and email out to anyone you like.
***UPDATE- Click here for a Spanish translation of the schedule shared from a blog reader!
As a companion resource for kids watching the Liturgies or reading the Gospels with their families, I also made this Holy Week Journal. It lists the name of the day, the Gospel to read, lines for journaling or copying a favorite verse, a question to think about, and a little bit of clip art to color. I picture it being copied single sided (which makes sense if parents are printing at home) and the blank back of each page being used as a space to draw a reflection or letter a Scripture card. The second page of the journal contains some suggestions/ideas for how to use it across a variety of ages.
Here's a preview of what the inside pages look like:
***UPDATE- And thanks to another reader, here is the Holy Week Journal in Spanish!
***And now in FRENCH too!
I know that your family might have other traditions or prayers or foods that you typically enjoy during this holiest of weeks. And that is awesome! That's one of the reasons I made this schedule editable. I just tried to pull together resources for people with limited supplies/time or who are overwhelmed with choices.
It's my hope that this schedule and journal makes planning for parents, teachers, and church leaders to be able to more easily send ideas to the families you work with. If you have any suggestions or great ideas that might help us all, please send them my way or add them in the comments. Despite "social distancing," I think that we all understand better than ever how reliant we are on one another. May God richly bless you and your loved ones during this Season!