Bringing Holy Week Home: How You can Enhance Your Liturgical Experience

Beginning on Palm Sunday, Holy Week is a time of beautiful liturgy and tradition in our Catholic faith. Since Covid, though, we have put some traditions on hold. But that should not dampen your participation in the liturgy! This brief article is a resource for wherever you are at to really dive into the sacred mystery that is Holy Week. Whether you plan on attending in person on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil, we want to give you resources that can help you pray through Jesus’ Passion, Death, and Resurrection.

Holy Week

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday is the start of Holy Week. This year, we are blessed to have our usual tradition of gathering together for Mass and blessing the palms while we reflect on Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. However, there are a few ways we can dive deeper into this symbolic experience.

  1. Take a walk by yourself or with your family and imagine Jesus entering triumphantly into your neighborhood. You can even read the Gospel passage from Matthew 21:1-11 befroehand
  2. Wear red for the day. Red is the liturgical color of Palm Sunday. It reminds us of Christ’s Passion.
  3. Consider reading the Passion as a family and assign each person a role. You can purchase a passion play booklet here.

Holy Thursday

There are several ways we can reflect on the meaning of Holy Thursday at home before we come to mass.

  1. Bake some unleavened bread:
    1 cup of flour
    ⅓ cup of Perrier or other sparkling water
    1 tablespoon of light oil
    1 tablespoon or two of honey
    1. Preheat oven to 425°F
    2. Mix all ingredients thoroughly.
    3. Make approximately 6 small 3” rounds
    4. Bake for about 8-10 minutes
  2. Consider hosting a meal, whether with family or with friends. Jesus ate with companions, and we can too.
  3. Wash feet at home. Read the Gospel passage of John 13:1-16 beforehand and reflect with one another about what it means to wash each others’ feet.
  4. Spend the night in silent prayer and go to bed without watching TV to remember the experience of Jesus praying in the garden.
Washing feet at home
Washing feet at home.

Good Friday

Besides attending the celebration of the Lord’s Passion, here are a few ways you can try to pray for the day.

  1. Venerate the Cross at home. Or carry a small crucifix with you in your pocket as a reminder of the Lord’s Passion.
  2. Refrain from watching TV, listening to music, playing video games, or using the internet for entertainment. Symbolically place something like the TV remote or an iPad away in a closet as a reminder of Jesus being placed in the tomb.
  3. On the flip side, watch the Passion of the Christ
  4. Pray the Stations of the Cross or gather with the community for the Way of the Cross through downtown Rochester.
  5. Read through the Lord’s Passion as a family or with a group of friends and reflect on what this means for you.
  6. Write a letter or call someone you know who may be lonely or suffering.

Holy Saturday

If you aren’t up for attending the Vigil Mass, or you’re just looking for ways to pray more, you can check out these ideas:

  1. Host your own Liturgy of Light
  2. Create a Blessings Basket to give to someone who is alone or homebound for Easter. You can say a prayer over each object you place in the basket.
  3. Read through the first two chapters of Genesis and reflect on how creation relates to Jesus’ Passion, Death, and Resurrection
  4. Sing your favorite ‘Alleluia’ song

These are all simple ways to add to the liturgical celebration of Holy Week. If you’re looking for more resources, you can check out this pdf here which gives more detail for some of the above activities. Even though we are still called to sacrifice the beauty of washing an other’s feet or having our own feet washed during the Holy Thursday Mass, we have the opportunity to really carry these practices into our home life. What a beautiful opportunity for us to truly take our traditions into our daily lives especially during the beautiful observance of Holy Week!

We are happy to have you attend our liturgical celebrations in person during Holy Week, and are here for you as a Formation Team. Let us rejoice in the Lord as we enter into the last few days of Lent and the culmination of our identity as followers of Christ!