Holy Week at Home

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Palm Sunday Holy Mass will be offered at 7am, 9am, and 5pm for your intentions.

  • Gather outside your house with palms or branches (evergreens).
  • “Bless” your palms and branches saying the prayer the priest would modify to ask God to bless and omitting the sign of the cross. Use Holy Water to sprinkle them.

The Blessing of the Palms,

Ant. Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord. O King of Israel: Hosanna in the highest.
Let us pray.
We beseech Thee, O Lord, to bless these branches and grant that what Thy people today bodily perform for Thy honor, they may perfect spiritually with the utmost devotion, by gaining the victory over the enemy, and ardently loving every work of mercy. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
R. Amen.

Weekdays of Holy Week

  • Plan your family’s Liturgy, discuss the idea of the family as a Domestic Church.
  • Consider praying the Liturgy of the Hours
  • Consider a Novena for Divine Mercy. Pray the chaplet every day starting April 2nd to end on Good Friday or on April 4th to end on Easter.
  • Gather wood for an Easter Fire, read Genesis 22, “God will provide the Lamb”. Discuss why we Sacrifice (donum ac datis—the just return of what we have been given); why Sacrifice the son of Isaac (his most treasured “possession”; people are meant to be loved not possessed); what am I willing to Sacrifice… if I am honest what am I not?
  • Gather food for an Easter Basket (salt, meat, eggs, bread) or for a Passover meal. Read Exodus 12. Discuss the connection with Gen 22, Jn 1:29, and Rev 19:7.
  • You might make pictures of the stations or gather props to reenact them live on Friday.

HOLY THURSDAY Holy Mass will be offered at 7pm for your intentions.

  • Parents–surprise your family at dinner by washing their feet (if you give them no warning it will be most penitential for you!).
    • You might have dad wash mom’s feet and then mom wash the girls’ feet and the dad wash the boys’ feet and/or dad washes everyone’s feet…
    • after the washing, so as not to spoil the surprise you might read the Gospel about Jesus washing the feet of His Apostles, Jn 13:1-15
    • and give a meditation on its meaning remembering that for Jesus it wasn’t just about demonstrating service but commissioning then to share in his mission. Likewise, you by washing your children’s feet invite them to share in your mission of working for the sanctification of the family.
    • You might conclude with the Our Father and this prayer

V. Thou hast commanded Thy commandments, O Lord.
R. To be exactly observed.
V. Thou hast washed the feet of Thy disciples.
R. Despise not the work of Thy hands.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.
Let us pray
Be present, O Lord, we beseech Thee, at the performance of our service: and since Thou didst vouchsafe to wash the feet of Thy disciples, despise not the work of Thy hands, which Thou hast commanded us to retain: that as here the outward stains are washed away by us and from us, so the inward sins of us all may be blotted out by Thee. Which do Thou vouchsafe to grant, who livest and reignest God for ever and ever.
R. Amen.

  • At dinner you could also serve wine, lamb and bitter herbs and discuss the passover meal as a type for Jesus’ Last Supper.
  • You could pray the Liturgy of the Word or a dry mass at 7pm to unite yourself with the priests at Sacred Heart who will be praying for you at this time
  • You might end the day with the service of Darkness or Tenebrae (see below).

GOOD FRIDAY Divine Liturgy for Good Friday, sometimes called the Mass of the Pre-sanctified, is not really Mass. A continuation of the Triduum Liturgy that starts on Thursday and ends on Saturday with the Easter Vigil. The service will be offered at 7pm.

  • Confession is available at noon in the Church and weather permitting, the courtyard.
  • Consider reading one of the Passion accounts, again perhaps in parts.
  • Find or make a large Cross to adore. Remember on this day and only this day Catholics genuflect before any icon or relic of the Holy Cross.
  • Make the Stations of the Cross, particularly at 2:30pm, to walk with our Lord toward the Cross. Consider using images of the Stations or reenacting the scenes also consider walking the station out doors.
  • Pray the Divine Mercy either together or as a family at 3pm, the hour at which Jesus died for us.
  • Kneel in silent Thanksgiving at 3pm.
  • Good Friday services are essentially a “dry” Mass, which includes the Liturgy of the Word, adoration of the Cross, and Solemn Prayers for the Church and the World all of which you can do at Cross
  • If age-appropriate consider watching Gibson’s Passion of the Christ.
  • You might end the day with the service of Darkness or Tenebrae (see below).


The service of Tenebrae or darkness is one of my favorite prayers of Holy Week. It is a solemn celebration of the Latin Divine Office. Known for the nine candles that are slowly extinguished in a darkened Church when the final Psalm is read the last candle is hidden while the “Strepitus” or great noise made by stomping your feet or banging whatever is at hand sounds throughout the world.

Then the candle is returned, reminding us of the hope in the resurrection we have in Christ, for the reading of the final prayer.

  • This document contains the texts Latin and English, you can decide how and what your family could reasonably pray. You need not chant the service or say it all in Latin.


  • You might consider having older members of your household read/sing the psalms and lessons.
  • You might task younger members to snuff out candles, 1 per psalm for a total of 9.
  • Instruct your kids to make a Strepitus or loud noise when the last candle is hidden
  • After you bring back the candle pray the last prayer.
  • At the end of the service all depart in silence… you might consider asking your kids to maintain a prayerful “Great Silence”. Give them some time to silently pray and then go to bed without further entertainment or noise.

HOLY SATURDAY Holy Mass will be offered at 9pm for your intentions

  • Easter Baskets—before they were filled with candy were filled with food to be eaten first thing on Easter morning so that the first food you ate after the Lenten fast was blessed. In Polish culture called Święconka it contained:
    • Eggs – Decorated, dyed or plain white eggs; symbolizing hope, new life and Christ’s Resurrection from the tomb
    • Butter – Dairy products are included to celebrate the end of Lent and the richness of our salvation; reminds us of the goodness of Christ that we should have toward all things
    • Easter Bread – A round loaf, sweetened yeast Paska or rye, topped with a cross, symbolic of Jesus, the Bread of Life
    • Pepper – Also symbolic of the Passion of Christ and the bitter herbs
    • Kielbassa/Sausage – The links are symbolic of the chains of death that were broken when Jesus rose from the dead, as well as God’s favor and generosity
    • Ham, Lamb or Veal – Meats are symbolic of great joy and abundance in Christ’s Resurrection
    • Smoked Bacon – With its great fattiness, it is a symbol of the overabundance of God’s mercy and generosity
    • Salt – A necessary element in our physical life; symbolic of purification, prosperity and justice; preserves us from corruption. Jesus used its symbolism: “You are the salt of the earth”
    • Cheese – Usually fresh, dry curd or farmer’s cheese shaped into a ball, it is the symbol of the moderation Christians should practice
    • Symbolizing the promise of eternal life or good things to come

***Easter baskets can be blessed in the church by appointment.

  • Visit a graveyard or make your own tomb to visit Jesus’ body.
  • Make a Visit to the Church.
  • Built an Easter Fire, once burning sprinkle it with Holy Water.
  • Have a Candle Light prayer service to read the 9 readings for the Easter Vigil,
  • Consider renewing your Baptismal Promises and sprinkling your children with Holy Water.* (in some Catholic countries it is the mischievous practice to douse friends and Family with water on Easter Monday to remind them).

EASTER SUNDAY Holy Mass will be offered at 7am and other times for your intentions.

  • Consider praying the Liturgy of the Hours or a dry Mass
  • Consider renewing your baptismal promises
  • Sing or read the Easter Sequence: Victimae Paschali