LENT, HOLY WEEK and EASTER

Celebrating Holy Week

Holy week begins with Palm Sunday and brings us to Easter. Holy week is a very solemn and special time for prayer and reflection on the life, passion and death of our Lord Jesus. Within this week we celebrate Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Then it is Easter Sunday – our biggest and central Holy day! It is our Feast of Feasts!

Holy Week@Home Experience (Pastoral Center)
Worship services, prayers, and activities for the family.  (Please read the leader page and request a free license. )


EASTER at HOME

50 Ways to Celebrate the 50 Days of Easter
Jesus is Risen! Symbols / Traditions of Easter
4 Ways to Help Children Understand Easter
More Than a Day: What the Easter Octave Teaches Us
10+ ways to celebrate Easter with food, fun, and prayer

ACTIVITIES
Celebrating Easter: A Handout for Busy Parents (Growing up Catholic)  Celebrando Pascua
This handout is available to download free if you register with the Growing Up Catholic website. It is two pages chocked full of information for parents on the meaning of Easter and ideas on how to celebrate the holiday with family focused on the real meaning of the event.

Christian Easter Crafts for Kids (Catholic Icing)
Easter coloring pages and the jelly bean prayer plus a resurrection rolls and cookies and resurrection eggs.

Eleven Activities for Families to Celebrate the 50 Days of Easter (Sr. Janet Schaeffler – Faith Formation Learning Exchange)
Great ideas to help families make the Easter season come alive for 50 days courtesy of the Faith Formation Learning Exchange.

Easter Activities (The Religion Teacher)
Explore the following Easter activities for kids as a part of your Easter lesson plans this year.

Easter Activities for Kids (iMOM)
Help parents prep for Easter with an Easter Story Hunt or Easter Egg Hunt, and sharing some Easter Traditions!

NEW! Easter Traditions for Teens  (Vibrant Faith at Home)
Helps families with teens to develop new ways to celebrate Easter.

NEW! Open-Egged Questions (Vibrant Faith at Home)
Open-ended questions are great conversation starters at Easter for families with teens.

NEW! Easter Cupcakes (Vibrant Faith at Home)
Young families read a story of Jesus’ resurrection in the Gospel of Luke followed by a sweet treat reminding them that Jesus is the light of the world.


Lent is a 40 day journey towards Easter! Its origins date back to the 4th century and it is the Church’s primary penitential season in the liturgical year, beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. Ash Wednesday is often thought of as a Holy Day of Obligation, but it is not. I have heard it called a Holy Day of Invitation. It is more of an invitation into 40 days of renewal and growth. The 40 days remind us of the 40 years the Israelites wandered int he desert before they got to the Promised Land, and reflects the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert before he began His public Ministry (Matthew 4:1-11) The season has six Sundays: the final one, known as Passion (or Palm) Sunday, begins Holy Week. 

Spiritually, Lent is a time for us as Christians to focus on returning to God, repenting of our sins, renewing our faith and growing closer to God through the practices of Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. These 40 days help us to become more like Jesus and to discover and understand the fullness of life Jesus wants us to know.

PRAYER and REFLECTION
Best Lent Ever! (Dynamic Catholic)
​Beginning on Ash Wednesday and continuing through all forty days of Lent, you will receive a free daily email with a short video to help you reconnect with yourself and your God.
Lenten Reflections from Fr. Robert Barron
 (Word on Fire) Fr. Barron sends daily Lenten reflections right to your inbox.
Video Reflections on the Sunday Gospels from the Archdiocese of Newark
Stations of the Cross from Virginia Theological Seminary (below)
The Way of the Cross Video
The Way of the Cross: A Reflection Guide
The Book of Occasional Services (The Way of the Cross begins on page 46)


ALMSGIVING
Almsgiving flows from our practices of prayer and fasting. Because of our reflection, we are moved to give to those in need, and to look with compassion at those around us.
Here is a great video on almsgiving by Catholic Relief Services.


FASTING
We are called to abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent and to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Why fast? It offers us a chance to be in solidarity with those who have less, and to understand Jesus’ 40 days in the desert. It gives us a chance to “give up” something and even to do something good to help change our hearts and to help others who are in need.
Here are some recipes for meatless meals. (CRS)