Preparing for Easter as a family was always such a blur. We hosted the family Easter gathering with 20 plus people, complete with an egg hunt. That meant the house and the yard needed to be ready. We didn't want anyone finding an unwanted surprise from our dog instead of a colored egg.
Still, amid going to the parish for Holy Week services, preparing our home and meal, and preparing baskets for our girls, we always set aside some time for the home church. We started a tradition of having each our children prepare a craft for a prayer symbol and help us to lead the prayer as we prayed the days of the Triduum at home. These were precious moments and a wonderful time check-in with a conversation about life and faith and the meaning of Easter.
Being "at-home" for the pandemic has changed many of our previous experiences of "time". As we are striving to be safe, stay well and be faithful during this time, we are challenged by not being able to gather around these Holy Days at our parish table. Our home Church can be full this Easter with shared prayer, conversation and a new shared experience of longing for Christ's resurrection. Below are a variety of resources.
The first resource, Celebrating Triduum - Praying with the Triduum at Home, describes family crafts and prayers that coincide with the liturgies of the Triduum. This was an important part of my family's faith tradition when our children were in school.
The second resource listed below, Jesus is Risen! Symbols and Traditions of Easter, describes the Christian meaning for the symbols and traditions of Easter along with meal prayers for Easter and Easter Week.
The third resource listed below, Family Celebration of Holy Week, s a family faith sharing guide to Holy Week that provides ways to journey through Holy week in prayer and faith sharing as a family.
One of the challenges of being "at home" is that we can't go to Mass and the Triduum services with our extended family. We have started two new traditions. The first is watching a live stream Mass with our daughter who lives in another state. We start texting to catch up before Mass begins, sometimes sharing the link with the opening song lyrics. We stay connected during the liturgy in brief text "whispers" like, "what a great homily", "I love this hymn", or "That songs too high, I can't really sing it." We FaceTime during the sign of peace and connect after Mass for virtual coffee and donuts time, recalling how the homily and readings spoke to us.
Another option is to gather as a family for a Liturgy of the Word with the readings of the day and the prayer for Spiritual Communion. The resource below is provided by this link is from the Archdiocese of Singapore, who began closing Churches back in February.
It's not possible to do everything that is being suggested in the many helpful posts and emails. The key is to find a pattern and way to be the domestic Church and celebrate Christ's passion and resurrection. We are certainly in need of Easter, and the world needs the witness of Easter people, now more than ever!
Celebrating Triduum: Praying with the Triduum at Home
This is a guide for family crafts and prayer that correspond with the Triduum.
Jesus is Risen! Symbols and Traditions of Easter
This resource provides an explanation of the symbols and traditions of Easter, including Easter Eggs. There is also a meal blessing for Easter and family faith sharing for the week of Easter.
Family Celebration of Holy Week
This is a faith sharing guide and activity book for the liturgies of Holy Week.
Prayer Service at Home – Spiritual Communion
This guide is from the Archdiocese of Singapore. You can find the readings for each service at the USCCB website.
Select a storybook to tell the Easter story
Choose a story written for children that shares the meaning of Christ's resurrection at Easter. Consider these ideas:
A Child's Easter by Patricia A. Pingry - Available on Amazon
- This story begins with Jesus and continues through the resurrection.This is a fun book to read with children because there is large print and highlighted text that children who can read could say along with the storyteller.
- Idea: Post the children's spoken parts on poster boards so that children can read along with the story.
The Story of Easter by Patricia A. Pingry - Available on Amazon
This story is simpler and is designed to engage younger children.