Holy Week in the Home

Editor's Note: This blog is a perfect follow up to Bill's blog for teens and adults on our pilgrimage home during Holy Week. As parents and youth minsters, we hope you find the following reflection helpful, as you enter more deeply into this season.

I’ll be honest. 

When I was asked to write a blog post on living the season of Holy Week as a mom/youth minster, I was a little hesitant.  Not because I didn’t want to, but because it’s been a while since I’ve done the whole Holy Week thing.  Now, you might be thinking, “Of course you haven’t. Holy Week hasn’t happened since last year.”

Let me explain what I mean.

Last year, our family’s Holy Week looked completely different than any other year. While the rest of the church was celebrating the holiest season of the year, our world had stopped. We had just welcomed a new baby to our family a few short weeks earlier and she had been hospitalized since birth. We were driving back and forth to the hospital nearly an hour away, switching off caring for our other four children at home and staying at the hospital. I don’t even remember if we went to any of the customary liturgies commemorating our Lord’s Passion and Death. That year, we lived Holy Week through our suffering. We wept with Mary and the women of Jerusalem. We drew near to the cross in our brokenness. We prayed the words of our Lord in the garden, “Not my will, but yours be done.” I remember reading this quote in those difficult days and finding such great consolation:

Teagan in the hospital during Lent 2016.

Teagan in the hospital during Lent 2016.

I tell this story, not because I want you to know how hard our life was last year, but because I want you to be reassured that there is no right or wrong way to celebrate Holy Week. I recently heard a speaker at a retreat use this phrase “You do you.” Last year, this was the particular season we were in. I remember when my kids were little trying to be the Pioneer Woman of www.catholicmom.com. I thought it I didn’t do a Sedar Meal, get to the Good Friday service, pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, etc. I would miss out on the “all-inclusive” version of the Triduum.

So with everything I’m about to say, remember: You do you. 

It might be messy.

It might mean not getting to every single liturgy. 

Your Pinterest lamb cake might not turn out AT ALL.  

You do you.

Here are just a few ways we have celebrated the beauty of this week as a family and for me, in particular, as a youth minister:

- Attend the Chrism Mass if you are able! I try to invite a Confirmation candidate to attend and receive the holy oils they will be anointed with.

- Attend Holy Week Liturgies, reconciliation and/or pray the Stations of the Cross at your parish, and invite teens to join your family. When my kids were really little, they would decorate Stations of the Cross coloring sheets and tape them up around the house. It became a little like a scavenger hunt looking for them and the movement kept their attention!

- Watch the Passion of the Christ Movie, as a family if your kids are old enough.

- Pray the Divine Mercy Novena as a Family beginning Good Friday until Divine Mercy Sunday.

- Make cards for your RCIA candidates congratulating them and welcoming them into the Church.

- Pray for your parish priest, our Bishop and the Holy Father during this busy season.

- At our Youth Masses, we mark the season of Lent by omitting a closing song and instead departing in silence until the Easter Season.

- Gather with teens from your parish or your own family and pray with the scripture readings using Lectio Divina.

- Invite a friend or family member who doesn’t have a place to worship on Easter Sunday to join you and your family for Mass. My husband is way better than me at doing this!

Know of my prayers for you, along with the Freshly Brewed team, during this holy days.

Tiffany Topel | Youth Minister and Rockstar Mom, Jefferson, WI