Over the next week I’m sure so many of us will find it harder than ever missing out on the most powerful and moving services of the year which take place from Maundy Thursday til Easter Sunday, the Triduum. So many parishes are doing their utmost to ensure we can feel a part of the global Church at the moment, and I’m sure during Holy Week they’ll be doing everything possible to bring the symbolism of Christ’s passion to our homes. I know that the parish I recommended for streaming last week (St Joseph’s, Lancaster via Facebook) are exposing the Blessed Sacrament for half an hour before each Mass.
My recommendation of where to live stream Mass from this week comes from another old friend up in Lancaster Diocese. Fr Manny Gribben was once my vocations director and is a truly wonderful priest who I’m sure you’d appreciate. His parish is Our Lady of Furness in Barrow-in-Furness, an old stomping ground for me. The link can be found on the parish website here – https://ourladyoffurness.org.uk/.
As previously mentioned, we also have St John’s Parish in Bath live streaming Masses and other devotions, you can join in here – https://stjohnsrcbath.org.uk/. Fr Richard Dwyer, down in Frome is another local parish streaming Mass – https://www.stcatharines.co.uk/.
This Sunday is Palm Sunday and once more symbolism is key to how we celebrate this day to begin Holy Week with palm branches and processions, jubilation and song, as well as the occasional hired donkey for the day in the more daring of parishes. However, an idea has been going round about how we can still share the significance of this day with one another, in much the same way as the rainbows in the windows. The Missionaries of the Holy Spirit and Deacon Greg Kandra shared this:
What if everyone on Sunday April 5 in the morning, puts a branch on the door of their house or on the window, to celebrate Palm Sunday?
It could be any green branch you can get. This would help, despite the social distancing, to be connected as we enter into the Holiest of Weeks.
Want to join?
We may be physically isolated, but not separated. We are united as the body of Christ.
We are the Church.
Which got me thinking about the rest of Holy Week. The markers of the last 24 hours of Jesus’ life can be brought into our homes as a form of prayer or collective worship to help punctuate the Triduum in the absence of attending services. As I mentioned above, we can use the streaming links but how about creating your own moments of prayer. You could use these as a loose guide, something may jump out as an idea you or your family could take up, or may inspire you to come up with your collective worship:
Maundy Thursday (In the evening)
READ: Scripture passage of the Last Supper and Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemene
REFLECT: Share thoughts or meditate quietly on the scripture
EAT: Could you have Lamb or a form of unleavened bread (Matzos, chapatti, tortilla,etc) as part of your evening meal, then explain the significance from the Passover
ACTIVITY: Maybe take 5/10 minutes late at night to sit outside in the garden if you have one and pray the Our Father, to replicate Jesus’ agony and arrest in the garden of Gethsemene
Good Friday (3pm)
READ: Scripture passage of Jesus before Pilate up to his death OR
PRAY: The Stations of the Cross, thus incorporating all the above scripture with meditations and prayers to go with it. (child friendly ones available online here)
CREATE: You could always draw/design/colour in your own versions of the Stations of the Cross. Template versions for children can be found here. Or a simpler art task would be to look up different types of crosses and crucifixes and design your own. The Romero crosses from El Salvador are a perfect example of how a cross can be more than just 2 lines intersecting.
BAKE: If you’ve the ingredients in your cupboard why not bake some hot cross buns to eat. They’ll feel healthy compared with the chocolate that’s coming soon, and are a great way of making a culinary tradition of our faith relevant again, rather than just one more thing the supermarkets sell at this time of year. Recipes galore online and a lovely explanation of the history of the tradition can be found here.
Holy Saturday (Anytime)
READ: The remaining scripture about Jesus being taken down from the cross and laid in the tomb (Matthew 27: 57-66 and John 19:38-42)
PRAY: Again, you can reflect on the readings above and/or use the meditations on this site
BAKE: If you didn’t get a chance to bake Hot Cross Buns yesterday, why not try today.
READ: The account from scripture of Jesus’ resurrection
REFLECT: Use the passage to meditate on the significance of Jesus rising from the dead. Similar to Lectio Divina, why not read the passage through a couple of times more and share your thoughts.
WALK & CREATE: Could you use your ‘exercise time’ to walk and scavenge for signs of spring and new life. Once you return home you could create a collage with any leaves, petals, flowers, bark, stones, etc that you find. Or simply walk and appreciate the beauty of creation and give thanks for gift of Jesus Christ for us.
HUNT: A good old fashioned egg hunt is a must on Easter Sunday. If you don’t have an outdoor space you can use, then why not use indoors. You could mix things up a bit by leaving clues linked to where eggs may be hidden.
For online versions of the Bible go to www.biblegateway.com. If you wish to use the readings for the day you can find them at www.universalis.com/mass.htm . I wish you a blessed Holy Week and a joyful Easter. Please continue to pray for all of our school community and our global community that the hope that comes with the resurrection of Christ finds its home in our hearts.
Mr M Robinson