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April 2, 2020

Holy Week at home with your children


Holy Week at home with your children
 

As parents, you may be feeling overwhelmed with the balancing act of working from home, educating your children, and maintaining a faith filled family life, while sheltering in place. Children need consistency in their lives — even more so during times of uncertainty. Through daily prayer, music and creative experiences, we can encourage reflection and preparation. Here are some tips and resources to help you and your family reflect and prepare during Holy Week.

Daily Holy Week opening prayer and song

Start each day with this opening “A Lenten Prayer” from Loyola Press. Then, listen to and sing Janet Vogt’s “In This Reconciliation” together.

Preparing for Palm Sunday

Catechist Cafe offers age appropriate songs, videos, scripture passages, discussion questions and activities to use together as a family, as you prepare for a Palm Sunday livestreamed services. Separate activities are offered based on age groups (Preschool- Grade 3 and Grade 4+)

For children who are preparing for First Communion

Although our celebrations may be delayed due to shelter in place requirements, Holy Week is a good time to continue First Communion preparation and explore the theme of reconciliation. For English speakers, Hi God: First Communion is a wonderful resource to get you started. For Spanish speakers, El Señor Nos Invita is perfect for preparation of both Communion and reconciliation.

Holy Week art activities for children

Children learn by doing. They actively engage in creative art expression. For children ages 3–6, you can help your child create a ‘handprint book’ that has a page for each day of Holy Week, along with Scripture that is simplified for your child’s understanding. Here are some ideas from CatholicIcing.com

For children ages 7–10, making a banner or a wreath using symbols for the days of Holy Week helps them to understand the timeline of events and how we pray at each of these times. “Wee Little Miracles” offers a great guide on this. You can also find more information and other ideas in this wonderful booklet from Practical Resources for Church (PRC).

Stations of the Cross resources

Reviewing and praying the Stations of the Cross with your children at home is an excellent preparation for Good Friday.

The Way of the Cross for Children offers responses, Bible readings, reflections, artwork and songs for each of the 14 stations — all in a format that's easy for children to follow. Additionally, coloring pages for the Stations of the Cross keep kids engaged. Download this resource for ages 3–6. Download this one for ages 7 and up.

Daily Holy Week Closing Prayer and Song

Finally, end each day with the “A Lenten Prayer” and a song at bedtime. Listen to and reflect on “Walk on with Jesus” by Mark Friedman and Janet Vogt.

Family prayer is a great way to foster community, peace and love in the home during these trying times. We hope these resources, prayers and music selections help your children to learn about Holy Week, while deepening their relationship with Jesus and with you.

 
Dr. Mary DiCamillo, MT-BC
Dr. Mary DiCamillo, MT-BC

 

Dr. Mary DiCamillo, OCP Parish Ministry Consultant, is a Catholic music educator and has taught at all levels, from preschool to college, for the last 30 years. She is also a board-certified music therapist and has been a member of the American Music Therapy Association since 1990. Mary has worked as a music educator and music therapist in K–12 schools, universities, health care settings and has owned a private practice. She is also an experienced accompanist and cantor, and she currently leads worship at St. Catherine of Sienna Catholic Church in Laguna Beach, CA. Mary provides ministry consultations for Catholic schools and parishes in the Southwestern United States.