You guys, we’ve been all hit hard this Lent. Did any one of us foresee our Lent turning into such an ordeal? But we’re here, everyone. We’ve made it to Holy Week. And whether we can celebrate in a community of more than 5 or 10 people (in our houses) or not, it’s still the week where Palm Sunday happens (happened) and the Triduum starts.
How do we go about wrapping up such a chaotic upheaval of time, neatly packaged as ‘Lent’? Here are five ways you can bring into your home a sense of that sacredness of time. And if you’re still overwhelmed and can barely bring yourself to turn the TV to your local church’s Mass, then know we’re in solidarity with you and maybe this isn’t the list for you right now. It’s okay to say no to things. We’re praying for you (we got your back).
- Holy Thursday Meal
This is the meal where Jesus shared himself intimately with his apostles. As Jews, they ate the Passover meal together in Jerusalem. This meal, called a Seder meal, happens every year to commemorate the Lord passing-over the households marked with lamb’s blood, thereby saving them from the last plague over Egypt: the death of the firstborn.
While Christians do not celebrate Seder meals (we have our own celebration, the Eucharist, which takes place every Sunday), we can give a nod to this celebration in our own planning of meals. They use bitter herbs (like horseradish), matzoh crackers or flour, lamb, and a few other things you can read a little more about some Passover foods to make. Incorporating aspects of these foods can give depth to our own meal with our family. We can explain the meaning (which you can read about more in this great book, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist) and talk about how we celebrate now together at the Sacrifice of the Mass.
- Feet Washing
We can wash each other’s feet and this could happen at any time during the day. Many of us cannot celebrate with our communities but we can read the account in John 13:1-20, and then as a family we can wash each other’s feet. This does not have to replace watching the Mass of the Lord’s Supper live, but can help our children to be brought into the story of all stories.
- Good Friday Stations
CatholicMom.com offers a printable coloring Stations of the Cross booklet, or you can use one of the resources listed in Monica McConkey’s “3 ways to craft the Stations of the Cross.” At the end of the article, Monica lists a number of different reflection options for each station.
- Veneration of the Cross
We cannot venerate the cross in church, but we can enter into this devotion in our own homes. All you need is a crucifix (or cross, really). There is a traditional song called “We Adore Your Cross O Lord” that I couldn’t find an exact copy of on YouTube, but there is a Taizé adaptation, which is arguably better for children as it’s short and repetitive. The first one is in Latin, the second one is in English (both are slightly different musically from each other).
- Mini-Easter Liturgy of Light
Hear me out – first of all, if you have access to a catechist in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program, email them and see if they’d be willing to share with you how to do a Liturgy of Light at home.
Barring access to this, you can simplify the experience of an Easter Vigil to hold in your own home. I’ve created a printable guide for a simplified at-home Liturgy, if you want to do so (honestly — kids really do love it! It is based on the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Liturgy of Light).
I have heard of many people who will be lighting a candle in their windows the night of the Easter Vigil, as a way of remaining in solidarity with our church community, who experience the light of Christ collectively in their homes, united to our priests and bishops who are celebrating in the churches. Electric votives work well too, I’m told.
There you have it. The Lentiest Lent you ever did Lent, and we’re finally nearing the end of it. May your commemorations, venerations, and celebrations be filled with much blessing this year.
What will you be doing this year to participate in the Triduum?
Copyright 2020 Jane Korvemaker
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