A Family Holy Week Guide

Tuesday, March 19th, 2024

A Family Holy Week Guide

Our Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving are meant as preparation for Holy Week and the Triduum days.

Palm Sunday of the Passion of Our Lord: Today is called both Palm Sunday as well as Passion Sunday.  As we receive palms on this day, we will also hear a Gospel story of the last days in the life of Jesus.  In this Gospel Jesus consoles the “good criminal” and he forgives those responsible for his death.


Holy Thursday:  The liturgy on Holy Thursday recalls the institution of the Eucharist by Jesus and includes the words of Jesus: “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”  In our ritual remembrance, we, too, are asked to wash the feet of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

 Family Activity:

Attend a time of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  Pray for intentions that are near and dear to your heart; for example, health, joy, peace in your family and families throughout the world.

Good Friday:  The church is bare on Good Friday.  The altar is stripped of ornamentation and the tabernacle is left open and empty.  Mass is not celebrated on this day.  The liturgy today includes readings from various books of the Old and New Testament.  There are intercessions for the various needs of the Church and the world.  After this, there is veneration and Holy Communion reserved from the Mass that was celebrated on Holy Thursday.

Family Activity:

Spend time in prayer or possibly attend the Stations of the Cross as a way to be with Jesus in his suffering.  We are called to fast and abstain from meat on Good Friday.

Easter Vigil/Holy Saturday:  The Easter Vigil Mass is a rich moment in time in which we are drawn into Jesus’ timeless victory over sin and death that is now ours.  The vigil begins in darkness, and then the paschal candle is lit from the fire.  We are in partial darkness when we listen to the scripture reading.  The Gloria, which has not been sung throughout Lent, is intoned. The lights are turned on which give us the vivid symbol of the Light that floods our entire life through Jesus.

The reception into the Catholic faith through the sacrament of Baptism is celebrated with candidates who have prepared for this sacrament through the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) process during the year.  They will also receive the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist.

Family Activity:

If you are attending the Easter Vigil, talk about the symbols that are so rich in this liturgy: fire, water, oil, light, and darkness.  The Church teaches us through these signs and symbols.

Easter Sunday:  Celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead!  On this Sunday we remember that Jesus, Our Savior, has risen from the dead.  He died on the cross for us and now lives!

Family Activity:

Celebrate the Lord’s victory with friends and family!



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