This morning, I was on EWTN Catholic Radio, namely “The Son Rise Morning Show with Brian Patrick,” sharing how to celebrate holy week with children in tow. Yes, it can be done and here’s my best advice on the “how.”
Celebrating Holy Week with Children
I’m not sure about you, but all of our Holy Week Masses begin at 7:30 p.m.—not really the ideal time to wrangle our five children up to the church for an hour (or longer!) Mass. It’s quite possibly a glimpse into purgatory and not for the faint of heart.
We adapted and adjusted and now celebrate Holy Week with our children in mind. We want them to experience the week, not dread it, and we want the entire family to (happily) take part. In layman’s terms? We learned to compromise.
During the week, we refrain from attending any extracurricular activities, within reason. One of us attends the Chrism Mass (someday it will be me!) and on Holy Thursday, we wash the children’s feet. Afterward, my husband takes the older ones to Mass while I tend to the younger ones at home. We typically read a book about Easter and make it a quiet night.
On Good Friday, from 12-3 p.m., we have three hours of silence. While it’s completely reasonable to expect our 12 and 9-year-old to adhere to that expectation, everyone else is exempt. One must be realistic! We have them draw a picture of the crucifixion, then either read a holy book or pray. Those must be the darkest hours in our history and three hours of quiet doesn’t seem like too much to ask. That evening, I take the oldest two to Mass while my husband stays home.
Holy Saturday is usually spent with friends in the morning, doing a little neighborhood Easter egg hunt and then we lay low the remainder of the day. The Easter Vigil is the Superbowl of Catholic holidays. There is not enough money in this world to convince me to take my children to a three-hour (plus) Mass. That will come in time. Instead, we whip up a batch of resurrection cookies. It is a family favorite and the highlight of Easter morning, even more than the Easter Bunny!
Easter is most certainly a day of celebration. We’ve opted to get going early and attend the 7:30 a.m. Mass. It ensures we get an actual seat in the pew, instead of standing in the back, and we have the entire day to celebrate Jesus. Usually the Easter Bunny makes a stop at our house while we’re gone and hides the Easter baskets. The hunt for them is always entertaining.