A Family-Centered Holy Week 2015

crown of thorns

A re-post of our Holy Week plans from last year with updated comments!  Not much has changed for this year, except that we are going to confession at our parish tonight (Monday of Holy Week).


Here in the Cameron-Smith home we are settling into Holy Week (or at least we’re trying).  I’ve posted before about how we observe Holy Week, but here’s a snapshot of what we’re up to this week, with some new ideas to share:

ALL WEEK:  The Great Clean

Inspired by the Greek Orthodox “Clean Monday” or “Green Monday’ during Lent, I’m leading the family in The Great Clean during Holy Week.  This will include a family confession, talking over any lingering resentments or concerns, and . . . a serious cleaning out of STUFF from the house.  I have given the kids off school this week with the understanding that we are clearing, cleaning, and organizing all week.  I have a little surprise in store for them on Wednesday (the day before Holy Thursday) to give them a break from their hard work and sacrifice.  I won’t mention it now in case some little eyes look at my post before Wednesday . . .


Here is a previous post of ideas for Palm Sunday, including a recipe for a base for homemade fig ice cream and a link to palm crafts.

This year I’m making split pea soup on Palm Sunday, served with crusty bread.  Apparently, in England there is a tradition of eating split pea soup on Palm Sunday in memory of a famine which was finally relieved when a ship arrived in port on Palm Sunday with carlings, or peas.


Mass at our parish

“Passover Meal”:  unleavened biscuits, sautéed spinach (to represent the bitter herbs at a Jewish Passover meal), lamb meatloaf (we are having roast lamb on Easter Sunday so I’ll keep it more simple on Holy Thursday).  You can find lots of recipes for unleavened bread or biscuits but here’s a great, simple one from “Catholic Missionary Family.”

[2015:  This year, Dominic and I are on a trial wheat-elimination per doctor’s recommendation, so I am going to experiment with some gluten-free biscuit recipes.  Post to come tomorrow or Wednesday.]


Make Paschal candles (we’re just buying white candles in a glass jar from the dollar store, wrapping them in fabric, then decorating with button or crystal crosses).

[2015: Here are instructions for the easy Paschal candles we made last year. No beeswax required!  Even the little ones can do this candle project.]


Stations of the Cross for children:  There are many wonderful child-appropriate books for presenting the Stations to children.  I’ve used The Story of the Cross: The Stations of the Cross for Children by Mary Joslin the past few years and it’s lovely.  I will be presenting Joslin’s book on Good Friday this year.  This year, I did a “resurrection box” with my kids using Benjamin’s Box: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs by Melody Carlson.  Carlson’s book is meant to be used with a store bought “resurrection egg” kit, but I created my own from things found around my house.  As I read through the book, each spread correlates to a station of the cross; I had an item on a tray that connected to the station.  When I read about that station, one of the kids found the item on my tray and placed it in our resurrection box.  I thought Lydia would be the most enthusiastic about this presentation, but Dominic was the most excited.

Quiet and curtains drawn from noon to 3 p.m.:  With little kids in the house, “quiet” is open for interpretation.  We’ll do our stations during this time and at the very least have no screens or lights on in the house.


Tie-dyed Easter eggs:  LOVE this idea for dying Easter eggs.  You use scraps of silk (with vibrant prints — like an old tie or boxer shorts) to wrap around the egg before boiling.  Very easy instructions plus a video on Martha Stewart.

Getting ready for Easter morning (cooking, cleaning, preparing clothes)!

As I think about the week ahead, I recognize that my primary mission is to lead my children to love Jesus more by helping them understand not only the story of his sacrifice but his enduring love for them.  Depending on their age, this is more or less difficult for them to comprehend.  We don’t have to accomplish the whole mission of conversion this year; only our little part at this one moment in time in our child’s life.  Hopefully there will be more Lenten seasons and more teachers to lead them along the path.

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