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Family Life During Holy Week | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

Family Life During Holy Week

Good Friday Childrenphoto © 2008 John Asselin | more info (via: Wylio)
Palm Sunday reminds us life can change on a dime. The crowd that chanted “Hosanna” on Sunday screamed “Crucify him” within days. Sounds a whole lot like parenthood.

This week, our family tries to slow its pace so we can contemplate the week that changed the world:

  • A Palm Sunday of celebration
  • A last supper where Jesus Christ washes feet and institutes the first and most important supper
  • Agony in the garden
  • His crucifixion
  • An Easter vigil as we wait for the Resurrection
  • The Resurrection and celebration of Easter Sunday.

As a Catholic family, this is the most important week of the year for us. We make our faith journey along the way of the Cross. Each step is vital so we understand the difference between the small celebration of Palm Sunday and the victory dance of Easter Sunday. Which part of the Passion would we choose to skip?

This will be my 14th Easter since my conversion, and many parts of Holy Week still seem new to me. When I first sought to understand it, Maria von Trapp (of the Sound of Music)’s book, Around the Year with the Family  helped me. I devoured the European traditions and incorporated some of them into our family.  When we adapt a centuries-old tradition into our modern family, I feel a kinship with other families of faith around the planet and across time.

Once upon a time, our Palm Sunday included an annual Seder Supper followed by an all-family viewing of The Ten Commandments. Now, our schedule doesn’t allow the Seder Supper, and our teens don’t want to sit through the whole movie. So they will see parts of it over family pizza, while Richard and I continue our own tradition. I still dye Easter eggs alone, as my teens are too sophisticated for kid stuff.

We’ll still be at Holy Week services, and all week I’ll smile at memories of Holy Weeks past – the year my kids won the chocolate at the Seder supper, the year the Bishop washed our feet and gave us presents – and how my preschool son tried to turn his papal rosary into a lasso immediately afterwards, the year my daughter won the bunny at the church egg hunt, and more. Then I’ll savor my son’s serving at Holy Week services and treasure each moment because these, too, will 1 day be a page in our family’s memories.

Shakespeare once wrote we are such stuff as dreams are made on. Holy Week is the stuff of which memories are built and families made.


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