Upcoming Calendar Highlights: Holy Week Edition
By Jennifer Gregory Miller ( bio - articles - email ) | Mar 24, 2023 | In The Liturgical Year
Tomorrow is another solemnity of Lent, and Holy Week begins April 5. This post covers the beginning of spring and March 25-April 9 (Annunciation through Easter Sunday!)
Spring Has Sprung!
The Vernal Equinox came a bit early this year, Monday, March 20. And next year will be even earlier, March 19. Two years in a row it falls on the feast of St. Joseph! A little reading from the Farmer’s Almanac gives more details on the spring equinox and what’s the difference between Equinox and Solstice.
Just like the quarterly Ember Days, there are feast days that fall near these quarterly seasonal changes:
- Winter Solstice: December 25, Christmas
- Spring Equinox: March 25, Annunciation (Lady Day) and Easter which is determined by the Vernal Equinox. Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox.
- Summer Solstice: June 24, Birth of John the Baptist (St. John’s Day)
- Autumnal Equinox: September 29, Feast of the Archangels (Michaelmas)
Not all the feasts fall exactly on the seasonal shifts, but relatively close. Some traditions and symbolism of these feasts point to these shifts in seasons with the sun, moon, and light imagery.
Virginia experienced a very mild winter, with less than a half inch of snow total, and warmer temperatures most of the time. It seems El Niño will be impacting our weather for a while.
The Heavens Declare the Glory of God: Sky Gazing
It will be too cloudy for my area the next few days, but if you can, there are several sky-gazing sights to see the next few days:
- March Night Sky Guide, see March 23-24, Moon Tracks with Venus
- Monday, March 27: Rare Sky Event! Parade Of Planets 2023
Seeds and Gardens
I’ve been pondering seeds and new life. It’s such a joyful time to watch the emerging of the plants in spring. And it’s wonderful to just soak up and enjoy the extra Vitamin D from the sunshine. It is time to think about the garden.
How about a Mary Garden this year?
- Catholic Stand: What is a Mary Garden?
- UDayton’s All About Mary has several entries on Mary Gardens
- Also at UDayton site, see John Stokes and Mary’s Gardens Collection.
- See my older post on The Annunciation and Lent: Celebrating New Life through a Mary Garden
Other ways of contemplating seeds:
- In the CGS atrium at all levels, seeds are an image that Jesus used to ponder great mysteries of the Kingdom of God and the Paschal Mystery. Lent is a particular time we ponder the Paschal Mystery by looking at John 12:24 about the grain of wheat. We have been planting wheat and pondering this mystery. Listen to the CGS podcast that explains more about it: Episode 34—The Paschal Mystery with Carolyn Kohlhaas.
Saturday, March 25, the Solemnity of the Annunciation:
Lent has two special solemnities, St. Joseph and the Annunciation of the Lord.
- In his General Audience on March 22, Pope Francis invites Catholics to renew the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25. See the consecration prayer from last year: Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
- It’s Våffeldagen or Waffle Day in Sweden, Norway and Denmark! See Catholic Cuisine for more feast day food ideas.
- See my previous posts on the Annunciation:
Sunday, March 26, the Fifth Sunday in Lent:
- Today the option of covering of sacred images is practiced. The rubrics in The Third Edition of the Roman Missal states,
In the Dioceses of the United States, the practice of covering crosses and images throughout the church from this Sunday may be observed. Crosses remain covered until the end of the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday, but images remain covered until the beginning of the Easter Vigil (Fifth Sunday of Lent, p. 256).
- Covering the images is a visual reminder to remove distractions and adjust our focus mainly on the Paschal Mystery. We need to be essential, and drop the extras so we can enter wholeheartedly into Holy Week and the Sacred Triduum.
- See my previous post Passiontide and Veiling of Images.
Holy Week and the Sacred Triduum
It is less than two weeks until the beginning of the Sacred Triduum. I’ve been looking closely at my calendar, making sure I have accounted for all our commitments and taking look at our plans for Holy Week. Our college son will be traveling home and back during the Triduum, and my younger son is altar serving all through the Triduum, which requires extra practice.
The more “busy” work I get done beforehand allows me to more peacefully and prayerfully enter into the Triduum.
- Clothes and Shoes: We need to do a clothing and shoe check for our dress clothes for all the liturgical celebrations and other events. Growing sons means that suit won’t always fit!
- Easter Baskets: The Easter candy has been on sale for months, but I haven’t stocked up. I need to fill a few baskets soon.
- Holy Week Cuisine: Besides our regular eating habits of providing three meals a day, I need to think of snack foods for teenage sons and our special meals we have during the Tridduum. I need to plan for grocery store runs, recipe retrieval, and making extra time in the kitchen. Do I have a nice wine to serve on Easter?
- Holy Week Reading and Listening: With some extra time for spiritual reading, particularly on Good Friday, I try to prepare some books for my sons. I have shared our past reading when my sons were younger. Now I am finding other books that they can read about the Passion of Christ, even if it’s just an excerpt.
- past Holy Week Reading
- Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s Life of Christ
- Pope Benedict XVI’s Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem To The Resurrection
- Don’t miss Mike Aquilina’s podcast Mother of All Vigils, going into detail about the Easter Vigil. It’s so marvelous!!
- Holy Week Decorations and Supplies:
It’s time to take inventory of my tablecloths and napkins, silver, china, crystal, candles and decorations for the Triduum and Easter. Wash, iron, and polish if necessary.
- For Stations of the Cross with children at home, I have on my personal blog printable versions of the Children’s Stations of the Cross.
- If you want to display a home Paschal candle, I also share Paschal Candle for the Home 2023 simple printable.
- My lamb cake recipe.
- I bought some pretty pink linen and hope to have time to sew some Easter napkins. No sew version (except maybe a stitch around to keep from fraying) napkins with a fringe.
- We have some beautiful Fontanini Life of Christ displays that my family looks forward to seeing.
- And I’m making sure all psyanky dyes and supplies are in good shape. We like to work on Ukrainian eggs/pysanky during Holy Week.
My Previous Posts for Holy Week provide further details:
Holy Week Overviews:
- Celebrating Holy Week in the Home 2022
- Entering Into Holy Week—About Those Teen Years
- Celebrating Holy Week in the Home 2021
- Holy Week in the Home During Quarantine
- Salvaging Lent by Keeping the *Holy* in Holy Week
- Celebrating in the Home for the Holy Triduum (2018)
- Holy Week in the Home (2016)
- Holy Week Preparation (2014)
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion:
- Holy Thursday Meal
- Traditions of Holy Thursday
- Holy Thursday Mandatum: Love One Another
- Holy Thursday in the Home
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