Holy Week Preparations for a BIG Easter Celebration.

You may be tempted to keep Easter “simple” this year, but please remove those thoughts. Easter does not change based on human command. Whether we are allowed to attend Mass or not, it is still Easter.

My heart sank when a teenage cashier at Target told me he forgot it was almost Easter. This was while he rang up items for the kids’ Easter baskets. It made me think how utterly sad this mess of a virus may have turned those hardened hearts closer to God and His mercy. Too many of us have forgotten that God won the fight. He is in control and it is only through our lack of faith and hope which spirals us into despair. So, after contemplating those careless words of the cashier, I plan to double-down this Holy Week and double-up our Easter celebrations.

With the prohibition of Holy Mass and the Sacraments, as we are resorted to observing Mass over a computer or T.V. screen, let’s double-check ourselves that we have not become too lukewarm during this time. Do we still observe Sundays as God intended? Are we focusing on our Lenten observations or have we given those up in light of the outside sufferings we endure. Don’t give up yet. We still have time to seek reparation for sin through prayer and penance. Let’s double-down this Holy Week and partake as humanly possibly in Christ’s Passion. Let’s pray and offer our penances for a miraculous removal of this virus after Good Friday. Jesus conquered sin on Good Friday, He most definitely can conquer this virus. Don’t forsake Christ during Holy Week. Yes, the activities and crafts are good for children to help them understand what occurs, but remember that God expects more of adults. We are to be the examples to the children. Double your prayers and penances, so that we can celebrate in full glory with God on Easter Sunday.

You may be tempted to keep Easter “simple” this year, but please remove those thoughts. Easter does not change based on human command. Whether we are allowed to attend Mass or not, it is still Easter. God deserves the best and since the Bishops have forbade Mass and the Sacraments, it is up to the laity to observe this Holy Feast to the best of our ability in our homes. We cannot forsake our Lord as so many did during His Passion. Let us be near His Sacred Heart and at the foot of His cross on Good Friday. By the observances of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, we will be able to celebrate with Him on Easter Sunday. God deserves the best! Give Him your best at all times, but especially during Holy Week and Easter Sunday.

Holy Week: Monday – Spy Wednesday

Our family spends these three days finalizing housework preparations for Easter. We clean out bedrooms, bookshelves, dust, scrub down bathrooms, vacuum every room on every floor, and complete any chores that were finished over the previous weekend. We also read the full Passion of Christ each day so the children truly learn the details and know exactly what is happening on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.

Holy Thursday:

We will be observing a Procession of the Holy Eucharist from our car and will recite the Rosary. In the evening we will have a beautiful dinner to honor the Institution of the Holy Priesthood. Following dinner we will say the Stations of the Cross in preparation for Good Friday. My grandmother used to stay up through part of the night to observe the hours Our Lord prayed in the Garden. I hope this year to have the energy to do this, even though I’m pregnant.

Good Friday:

Since we are unable to attend Good Friday Liturgies at our church, I will be taking the children to the cemetery where my parents are buried around noon. There we will recite the Stations of the Cross and the Rosary.

It is a tradition in our family to dye Easter eggs after 3:00 pm on Good Friday. Even though we are

Holy Saturday:

We observe Holy Saturday in quiet as a family. There is no T.V., no radio, no music. It is a day of emptiness as we wait for Christ’s Resurrection. So, this is the day that we do most of our baking for Easter. It is a day of anticipation for the Greatest Feast in the Church’s Liturgical Calendar.

Easter Sunday:

We will be celebrating BIG like every year. Easter has always been one of my favorite Holy Days! Even though we will observe Mass over the T.V. everyone will be dressed in their full Easter clothes. God deserves on the best at all times, but especially on His Resurrection. Even though we will not be celebrating with extended family this year, I will still be cooking and baking all of the same foods, breads, and desserts (just in smaller quantities). I observe this time as a test. Am I willing to continue my path towards sainthood, no matter what earthly changes are made around me, or am I going to succumb to the unhappiness and gloom the world is exhibiting. For ultimately, the Resurrection of Christ is of much greater value than anything related to the virus.

Celebrating the Feast of the Annunciation as a Family

I find that Liturgical Living is an important part of Catholic family life. Our family started a tradition years ago. I believe I found it on Kendra Tierney’s blog, Catholic All Year, many years ago and it just seemed to be a good fit for our family.

The Feast of the Annunciation is a major Marian Feast, also known as “Lady Day”, which focuses on the Incarnation. The Annunciation commemorates the visit from St. Gabriel the Archangel to the Blessed Virgin announcing she would be the mother of Christ. This Feast dates back to the fourth or fifth century. How beautiful that Catholics have been celebrating this Annunciation for so many, many years! That is the beauty of the Universal Church.

So, how does my family celebrate? Since it is a major Marian Feast, we have waffles for dinner with powdered sugar or whipped cream and strawberries. The interlinking design of the waffles signify the connection between Our Blessed Mother to the Holy Trinity (similar to the Fleur de Lis). The powdered sugar or whipped cream symbolizes the Archangel Gabriel. It is important to note that the feast day of St. Gabriel the Archangel is the day before the Annunciation, March 24th.

These small meals may seem simple but are an important part in teaching my children about their Faith. It is through everyday associations that they will find connections to God and their Catholic Faith. Have a Blessed Feast of the Annunciation on March 25th.

A Call to a Deeper Faith

Lent is one of those times of the year, when the days seem longer, the food options are less appealing, and the promise of spring and the Resurrection are so very close. How many times has a Lenten season passed without barely batting an eye. We may follow the observance of no meat on Fridays, the removal of the Gloria at Mass, and giving up the usual sweet treats. But how many of these traditions are by habit rather than from the heart?

The 2020 Lenten Season may have appeared to begin the same as every year prior. Yet, quickly things changed which were beyond our control. Things that deeply impacted all of our lives, whether we wanted to participate in the initial hysteria or not. When it came down to it, we all were handed a more sacrificial Lent than ever imagined. (Our imaginations are not very broad as adults.)

Now we are called to something much deeper, something greater than our own surface Lenten practices. For many of us in the US, we have never been void of the sacraments, especially of the Eucharist. Out of despair comes greatness. The greater the suffering, the greater the reward. We have been called to Faith! A renewed sense of the sacred not only in our personal faith, but in the Eucharist. Our Lord has never left us, not even after His death, as he remains in the tabernacle waiting for us day and night. Yet, our actions speak louder than our words. Our attendance at Mass, sometimes for love, but other times through duty. We have now been given an opportunity to closely examine our lives, our daily actions that are sometimes ignored as our lives tend to resemble one hectic roller coaster ride. God has not only forced us to slow down with self-quarantine, to focus on the family, to think about others who may be in need, to pray for those who are sick, but to examine our own souls. Let’s not waste this time with a surface examination, but truly ask ourselves if our actions would change if this was our last day, our last week, or last year. Ultimately, do we truly prepare our souls for the coming of Christ in the Eucharist every Sunday. Do we preserve the sacredness and mystery of our Faith?

Let us renew our faith and hope towards the Truth – the sacredness of the Faith. We do not want to die and have to admit that the Lent of 2020 was wasted, that we only found time to wallow in our personal miseries. Rather, we hope to see all of the good we have achieved for Christ through our daily prayers and sufferings in this Lent.