Catholic Activity: The Passover Meal: 5. Traditional Passover Prayers
A Catholic family can enter more deeply into the Triduum during Holy Week by having a seder meal, similar to the Last Supper that Jesus would have celebrated with his Apostles. With the knowledge that Christ has come and redeemed the world, we can incorporate a Christian attitude during the seder meal.
This is the traditional benediction, or "Kiddush," said by the father of the family, explaining the symbolism of some of the seder foods.
FATHER OR LEADER: The first act of the Jewish Passover is a benediction, the Kiddush. The leader takes up a cup of wine and recites this blessing:
Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine. Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe who hast chosen us among all peoples and sanctified us with Thy commandments. In love hast Thou given us, O Lord our God, solemn days of joy and festive seasons of gladness, even this day of the feast of the unleavened bread, a holy convocation unto us, a memorial of the departure from Egypt. Thou hast chosen us for thy service and hast made us sharers in the blessing of Thy holy festivals. Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, Who hast preserved us, sustained us, and brought us to this season.
(All present take up their cups.)
We who are Christians know, as St. Luke writes (22:18), that on the night our Lord celebrated the Pasch with his disciples, He said:
From now on, I tell you I shall not drink wine until the kingdom of God comes.
(All present drink of the wine.)
FATHER OR LEADER: The next traditional act of the Jewish Passover meal is eating the greens. The greens are a symbol that nature comes to life in Springtime. Following the Jewish custom, we dip the greens in salt water and pray:
Blessed art Thou O Lord our God King of the universe, Creator of the fruit of the earth.
(All present eat of the greens dipped in salt water.)
FATHER OR LEADER: Another action of the Jewish Passover meal is breaking the matzo. The leader lifts up the matzo and says:
Lo, this is the bread of affliction which our fathers ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are in want come and celebrate the Passover with us. May it be God’s will to redeem us from all trouble and from all servitude. Next year at this season may the whole house Israel be free.
(The leader replaces the matzo on its plate.)
Activity Source: Passover Meal, The by Arleen Hynes, Paulist Press, 1972