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Catholic Activity: Good Friday Activities in the Home

The home should reflect the spirit of Good Friday, the day we remember Christ's passion and death. The following are ideas on how family prayer, meals and prayers should be conducted on this day.

DIRECTIONS

On Good Friday we stay close to the Cross of Jesus on Calvary. The day has an air of desolation, though not of despair. The tone of all things is that of quietness. Gaiety is foregone, and conversation is cut down. We try to eliminate idle and secular talk, though silence should not be made an end in itself or be imposed with threats. Young children cannot be expected to maintain silence, but they are quickly impressed by adult silence and learn the lesson that this is truly a most unusual day.

This is one day of the year on which the family should freely put aside all forms of secular entertainment: reading, movies, TV and radio, and all forms of commercial entertainment. If the silence proves unbearable (as well it might for many of us so used to continuous diversion), it would be appropriate to play records of religious music. The purchase of a record album of Gregorian chant or Bach selections especially for this occasion would help to emphasize the importance of the day.

The somber quality of this Friday can be shown in many other ways besides that of silence. All the pictures can be taken from the walls. After being washed they are put away, not to be hung again until after the Easter vigil service.

The family meals should be eaten quietly, perhaps with one member reading from Scripture about the Passion of Christ. The meal should be the simplest of the entire year, deliberately planned that way. The "dessert" for the meal is a hot cross bun. If the housewife is unable to make special hot cross buns, then any bun can be signed with a small cross made of powdered sugar frosting. Except for those who are really ill and the aged, it would seem impossible to find any reason to be excused from the fast on Good Friday. Adults and children both should take seriously the observance of the strict fast on this day commemorating the death of Jesus on the Cross.

Before the restored order of Holy Week in 1956, the "Three Hours" constituted the most widely observed popular liturgical action; special observance of the hours from noon to 3 p.m. continues to be an excellent way of sanctifying the day.

The appropriate time for special home observance of Good Friday (for those unable to go to the parish church) would be simultaneously with the parish; of course, it would be laudable if the family members who attended the services at church and received Communion would prolong their meditation by continuing silence and prayer at home afterwards.

The importance of the adoration of the Cross in the liturgy at church is reason for us to give special emphasis to the crucifix at home today. The uncovered crucifix is given a place of honor in the home to serve as a reminder that this most sacred day will be concluded in quiet respect. This assumes, too, that we acquire a crucifix of sufficient size and artistic dignity to be consistent with the other furnishings of our home. One would assume that the quality of the crucifix and religious statuary of the home would have been of more concern to us than the carpets, silver tea sets, or lounge chairs, and that we would be willing to pay as much for them.

Finally, while many have been unable to interrupt their evening activities to any degree during the rest of Lent, all will make every reasonable effort to refrain from social, business, or other engagements away from home on the evenings of Holy Thursday and Good Friday. On these two nights we are given the chance to answer the question of our Lord: "Could you not, then, watch one hour with Me?" And long before these solemn days have arrived, the children should have been instructed to make no plans at all for activities other than spiritual on these nights.

Activity Source: Lent and Holy Week in the Home by Emerson and Arlene Hynes, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1977

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