Salvaging Lent by Keeping the *Holy* in Holy Week
By Jennifer Gregory Miller ( bio - articles - email ) | Apr 14, 2019 | In The Liturgical Year
I’m not ready for Holy Week. I admit it. It’s been a busier Lent than I prefer. We’ve been juggling sports, with ending and beginning seasons, both practices and games, extra preparation for a First Communion, a short family trip to South Carolina and Tuesday practice round at the Masters, and just dealing with extra sickness this Lent through the whole family.
All this translates in trying to salvage the final days of Lent and the Triduum, giving it a final push. I want to be practical and try to make the most of Holy Week with a minimum of energy and time. I know I won’t be able to do all my traditions that I have mentioned in my past posts such as Holy Week in the Home. So what are the main ways we can keep Holy Week holy?
1) Attend all the Triduum Liturgies:
- Holy Thursday, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper
- Good Friday, the Celebration of the Passion of the Lord
- Holy Saturday, the Easter Vigil
2) Add a little extra push in prayer:
Stations of the Cross, particularly on Good Friday. (I have formatted a wonderful Stations of the Cross for Children on my personal blog.)
- Pray a few hours of the Divine Office during Holy Week, particularly during the Holy Triduum (here’s a ready-to-print version). Follow some of the Tenebrae suggestions by Sister Genevieve Glen, O.S.B. in the Holy Week Magnificat.
Divine Mercy Novena, and add the Divine Mercy Chaplet during the week.
- Pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary throughout the week.
- Take out some quiet time for some spiritual reading.
- Go to Confession during Holy Week.
3) Reduce Unnecessary Distractions and Social Events
- Reduce the use of smart phones and computers
- No extra TV time, except religious movies portraying Jesus’ Passion.
4) Prioritize Family Traditions
- We definitely will have our Holy Thursday Meal, maybe not as fancy as usual.
- On Good Friday we will do the 3 hours at church, ending with the Celebration of the Passion.
- As I’m still under the weather, I won’t be baking, so I’ll be looking for store-bought options.
- We will still decorate eggs, but not make as many.
- Decorating Pysanky might not happen until Easter Week.
- Easter celebration with egg hunts and family gathering will be simple, but happy to be with my parents and 4 of my siblings and their families.
- I need to squeeze in time to for grocery shopping, doctors’ appointments and prepping all the clothes. Shopping for new clothes isn’t in the schedule. Our oldest son will be serving for the whole Triduum which reduces the pressure for nice new clothes.
- I also need to find some time (and energy) for some housecleaning.
That’s my plan for salvaging Lent and keeping the holy in Holy Week. I’m trying to make sure there isn’t too much busyness planned so we have time for quiet and contemplation. No matter how much I have failed this Lent, there is always room for redemption and mercy. As in Palm Sunday’s Passion Gospel from Luke, we can be the Good Thief, asking Jesus to remember us when He comes into His kingdom. May you have a holy and blessed Holy Week.
Here’s a list of previous posts and plans for Holy Week both here and on my personal blog:
Holy Week and General:
- Celebrating in the Home for the Holy Triduum
- Holy Week in the Home—Our 2016 Holy Week plans
- Holy Week Reading—picture and chapter books we use during this week
- Holy Week Preparation—Our 2015 plans
- Preparing for Easter Through the Old Testament—picture book ideas for Holy Week.
- Lessons from Jonah
- Jonah Project for Holy Week (repost 2014)
- Stations of the Cross for Children
- Holy Thursday Meal—Our family’s traditions for a Last Supper Re-Enactment
- Traditions of Holy Thursday—Historical perspective of liturgical and domestic traditions
- Holy Thursday Mandatum: Love One Another—Foot Washing in the Home
- Holy Thursday in the Home—Our family’s traditions for Holy Thursday
- Contemplating Good Friday and the Annunciation—In 2016 Good Friday fell on the traditional date for the Annunciation.
Holy Saturday and the Easter Vigil:
- Holy Saturday: Come and Mourn with Me Awhile—Thoughts on keeping a quiet Holy Saturday.
- Easter Vigil—Short summary of the Liturgy of the Easter Vigil, the hinge for all the Liturgy and Liturgical Year.
- The Liturgy of Light (used in CGS atrium)—A brief rundown of the Liturgy of Light within an atrium.
- Paschal Candle 2019—(every year I make a printable Paschal Candle design to use in the home.)
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