Catholic Women Now: Holy Week Activities

Radio MicEach week Julie Nelson and I explore the depth, breadth, and strength of the Catholic Church through a feminine lens on our radio show Catholic Women Now. The show, produced by Iowa Catholic Radio, is heard in the Des Moines area on 1150AM, 88.5 & 94.5 FM. Listeners outside this area can stream online via ChristianNetCast or through the Tune-In Radio app

Show times: Tuesday at 2:30pm, Friday at 9:00pm, Saturday at 8:30 and 11:30am and Sunday at 6:00pm — all times Central. Tune in; tell a friend! 

Here’s a recap of what we’re chatting about this week. 

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Lent ends on Holy Thursday just before the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, but the Triduum sustains the characteristic of Lent.

Trid-a-what?!? Triduum. Pronounce all three syllables; the first rhymes with “rid”: TRIHD-oo-um. It comes from the Latin words for “Three Days,” and has a rather mysterious sound, doesn’t it? That sound helps convey the gravity of this time.

The Three Days are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  And although we refer to this time as three days, it really is one long glorious event that finishes on Easter Sunday.

Something wonderful happens during the Triduum. Create an environment to welcome it. While it’s good to clear your calendar and keep things simple, we no doubt want to celebrate this important time with some special activities. Here are some ideas.

Decorating the Easter Tree

Spray paint a small twiggy branch white. Place the branch in a large vase or flower-pot, and add sand or small pebbles around the base of the branch to keep it upright. Then ask your children to make caterpillars by rolling pipe cleaners around pencils. Hang the caterpillars on the tree. On Holy Saturday remove the caterpillars and replace them with butterflies made from wallpaper scraps, bright-colored magazine pictures, or construction paper and crayons. Add bits of colored tissue paper as flowers. The butterflies remind us of our new life in Jesus. Another idea — on Easter, add colored eggs and symbols to your tree. The egg is also is a symbol of new life. Place Easter promises in each egg. Write things you will do with your child: a walk, trip to the zoo, lunch with grandparents, making cookies, etc. Have children write promises, too. Or you could write conversation starters and open one at the dinner table each day. Whatever the message inside, crack open the eggs throughout the Easter Season to discover the promises of love. (Source: Celebrating Saints and Seasons by Jeanne Hunt)

Delivering a Secret Basket

Set out a basket in a common area of the home and ask all family members to fill it with items throughout the week. On Easter Sunday, deliver the basket to someone who is lonely and needs a joyful treat.

Holy Thursday/Maundy Meal

Some parishes prepare a Seder Supper — attend as a family.  The Seder, or Passover Meal, instituted by Moses under the Old Covenant, was a foreshadowing of the Holy Eucharist, instituted by Christ under the New Covenant. Since the Eucharist has fulfilled and superseded the Passover, a Seder for Catholics would have the value of an educational and devotional experience, but not of a religious rite. More info here.

If your parish doesn’t offer a Seder Supper, prepare your own at home by creating a centerpiece of grapes and bread for the Eucharist, a coin purse for Judas, and a lantern for the soldiers in the Garden of Olives. Serve thirteen things to represent the number of guests at the Last Supper. Conclude the meal by reading John 18:1-9. (Source: Celebrating Saints and Seasons)

Good Friday Family Fast

On this solemn day, agree as a family to spend the day talking quietly to one another and fasting from noise. Some families even institute three hours of complete silence from noon until 3:00 pm. Turn off radios, TVs, phones, and computers. Savor the silence. Leave your car in the garage and walk to church if able.

Resurrection Rolls/Empty Tomb Rolls

On Holy Saturday, or “tomb day,” prepare Easter breads. An easy, tasty recipe to help teach children about the Easter story is Resurrection or Empty Tomb Rolls. You can make with Texas rolls (recipe here) or crescent rolls (recipe here) … or even rainbow resurrection rolls with Easter Peeps! (recipe here).

Easter Story Cookies/Resurrection Cookies

Another hands-on cooking activity kids can relate to is Resurrection Cookies. A cooking activity full of symbolism, and a great way to reinforce the true meaning of Easter with children. 

Alleluia — Sing it loud, sing it proud!

We’ve buried the Alleluia since Ash Wednesday. What a glorious moment when we finally sing during Easter Vigil Mass. How about hanging an “Alleluia Banner” in your home, too? Ideas and printable letters here

Wear Your Easter Sunday Best!

If ever an occasion called for festive new clothes, this is it! The assembly gathering for this solemnity in its best dress shows the special nature of Easter.

In an effort to build community and get to know our great listeners, we want YOU to show us your Easter best. By doing so, you’ll be entered to win a really (really) cool prize. If you’ve been listening, you might even be able to figure out the prize.

How to enter? Here’s what you need to do. A new post will be published here on Easter morning. All you have to do is share a photo of you/your family donning your Easter best. Get those cameras clicking and stop back here beginning Easter Sunday to upload your photo. No rush — we’ll leave the post open throughout the week, so savor Easter Sunday with your family!

Thanks again for tuning in to Catholic Women Now on Iowa Catholic Radio … now go do the impossible things with God! 

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