Florida’s stay-at-home order comes just in time for Holy Week. While I would normally encourage everyone to take part in as many of the Holy Week liturgies as possible (it was even our April family activity for the month!), this just is not possible this year. I keep telling myself Holy Week is still Holy Week, even if we can’t participate in the liturgies.
During Holy Week, we commemorate some of the most solemn mysteries of our Faith. On Holy Thursday, we celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, a special commemoration of the Last Supper. We celebrate the institution of the Eucharist and the Priesthood. On Good Friday, we remember the Passion of Christ, and should try to enter into it as best we can. Reading an account of the Passion of Christ from the Gospels or praying the Stations of the Cross would be particularly appropriate. Holy Saturday is a day of preparation for the Easter Vigil. In the liturgy of the Vigil, we recount salvation history through the readings before welcoming the risen Christ.
While this is not the Holy Week or Easter we planned for, let’s take the opportunity of the coinciding of Holy Week and our stay at home order to turn this Holy Week into a special time of prayer, a family retreat, even. Turn off the news, limit social media and recreational TV watching and enter into Holy Week. Mimic what happens in the liturgy in your own prayer space: cover sacred images for the week, strip your prayer space of decoration and leave it empty after Holy Thursday liturgy, make the crucifix front and center on Good Friday, light candles for the Vigil on Holy Saturday.
The Holy Week liturgies that are live-streamed will be shorter than usual, making them more friendly for those with little kids. There is no congregation, not much music, and Pope Francis has given other directions to priests who will be celebrating the liturgies without a congregation. Take time to watch them.
Our Parish Schedule for the Easter Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday) is:
Holy Thursday: Live Stream Mass of the Lord’s Supper 5 pm
Good Friday: Live Stream Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion 3 pm
Holy Saturday: Live Stream Easter Vigil Mass 8:30 pm
Here are more ideas for an at-home Holy Week Retreat, something for every day:
And a link to a printable Holy Week journal, appropriate for all ages, here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1uz_hI_bTaMGisR8QPgdLBcIyCYS5oGKp/view
Playlists for your at-home retreat can be found here: https://www.osvnews.com/2020/03/30/playlists-for-holy-thursday-good-friday-and-easter/?fbclid=IwAR2ZfsLTULznRDHpGMeTD8W0vdHEBMfZ3ecFJTvSX0RV5T4QS1kvt6XpgqM
I pray your Holy Week leads to a joyful Easter Sunday!