downloadable PDF: Women of Faith Resources Holy Week 2020
Since we all are quarantined, I decided to provide spiritual resources for the Holy Days. I trust the enclosed suggestions and comments will unite us during this communal time of “Christian High Holy Days” at a moment in history when we cannot be physically together to celebrate them. I also hope that anyone consulting these pages and praying with us is well and will stay well during this coronavirus epidemic. This coronavirus is changing our lives in inconceivable ways. This virus is both distancing us from one another and bringing us together to take care of family members, our elders, and our neighbors. This virus is calling all of us to know a bit what it is to live life as a shut-in. May this time bring us graces that kindle our faith, hope, and love … not to say, patience!
Holy Thursday, also called Maundy Thursday, is the Thursday before Easter. On this day, we commemorate Jesus’ final Passover with His disciples. It is during this Passover meal that Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. The washing of the feet of others is an act of humility and extraordinary love. Jesus invited the disciples, and so invites us, to wash one another’s feet in reality or in some symbolic way. We can ask ourselves: How can I symbolically wash someone else’s feet this Holy Thursday?
At the Passover meal, Jesus gave his disciples this command to love one another: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” Gospel of John 13:34
Jesus also commanded his disciples to continue to celebrate the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Him: “And He took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” Gospel of Luke 22:19-20
Some Practices for Holy Thursday
- Read the New Testament readings about the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist in the following Gospels Matt 26:17-30; Mark 14:12-26 or Luke 22:7-20. As you read the story this year, ask God to help this story live in you more deeply than ever before.
- A video, prayer experience based in the Gospel of John 13:1-15
- Holy Thursday worksheet for children.
- Celebrate a Seder Meal: here you will find simple menu suggestions including roast beef or lamb, mashed or roasted potatoes, spinach, carrots and celery sticks, applesauce, bread and/or matzos, grapes, wine and/or grape juice, and dessert.
- Bake hot cross buns for the next day, Good Friday. Recipe at pillsbury.com.
- Go to your TV channels for CatholicTV to find the broadcasts of Holy Thursday Services.
Holy Thursday Music
Mix of Songs for Holy Thursday
Holy Thursday Art
Gaze into these Holy Thursday paintings and images to see what they reveal to you this Holy Thursday 2020.
by Polish artist Bohdan Piasecki
For a meditation by Sr. Joan Chittister on this painting, see National Catholic Reporter Online
Good Friday is the day Christians remember the suffering, crucifixion, and death of Jesus. It is often a solemn day, wherein some people spend more time in prayer, choosing to keep silence, and to observe strict fasting. If we are called to prayer, silence, and fasting, we might wonder why we call it “good” Friday?
Actually, not all nationalities call this day GOOD Friday? – Some say Great Friday; countries with Romance Languages say HOLY Friday, still others say LONG or SORROWFUL Friday, and some say BLESSED Friday. Whether we say: GOOD, HOLY, GREAT, SORROWFUL or BLESSED Friday, the Scriptural or the historical events are the same. We recall what happened to Jesus; we remember his life-filled presence among the people and know His life and death have an ongoing effect on all humankind. This mystery of faith lives within all Christians.
On Good Friday, we stress that Jesus Christ was abandoned, tortured, condemned to death, and made to carry the cross on which He would be hung and die, how can that be called GOOD? In the day of Jesus, death on the cross was what we might call – capital punishment. How can capital punishment be called GOOD?
Good, in Scripture, usually refers to Good News or Glad Tidings. Good Friday leads to Easter Sunday. Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified because of the sin of the world, prepares the way to live again the Easter miracle, the Resurrection and Renewed Life for all humankind. THAT is the GOOD NEWS of Good Friday.
Some practices for Good Friday:
- Prayer, fasting, keeping silence
- Pray a Way of the Cross
- Scriptural Way of the Cross inaugurated by Pope John Paul II in 1991.
- Mary’s Way of the Cross by Richard Furey
- The Stations of the Cross for Children by EWTN
- Way of the Cross presided over by the Holy Father – Good Friday St Peter’s Square at 21.00 (9:00 p.m.) Check your TV Guide for Channel or try CatholicTV.org for the Holy Week Schedule
- The most sacred hours during Good Friday are from noon to 3:00, because this is when Jesus was on the cross. During this time, hold a time of silence in your home, and turn off the phones, TV, and other devices. Pray the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary, read from scripture, or watch a movie on the Passion of Christ.
The Life of Jesus: This Gospel of John is produced by a Canadian company, the Visual Bible International. It lasts three hours but can be viewed in four segments.
The Life of Jesus: Spanish edition of the above film.
A Tenebrae Service: A Service of Shadows, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Good Friday Music
Good Friday Art
Gaze into these Good Friday paintings and images to see what they reveal to you this Good Friday 2020.
At Good Friday services at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Ferguson, 5-year-old Maria Jose Hernandez venerated the cross as she was held by her mother Emma Hernandez. Photo Credit: Lisa Johnston See Holy Week Traditions Help Us to Better Understand God’s Plan for our Salvation
Holy Saturday is the last day of our Lenten Triduum. It is a day for quiet reflection and preparation for the celebration of the Resurrection. Usually, Christian communities and parishes hold evening services. But, this year that may not be possible, especially where the coronavirus is rampant and curfews have been imposed.
In Roman Catholic churches, the vigil would begin with an outdoor fire, lighting up the night to disperse the darkness. The fire is used to light the large, pascal candle, a symbol of Jesus as the light of the world. The participants then light tapers from this candle.
During the service or liturgy, Bible passages are read from the Book of Genesis, recalling the creation of the world; from Exodus, depicting the saving of the Israelites; and from the Gospels narrating the Easter story.
Baptisms often take place during the Easter Vigil and all in the Church are invited to renew their baptismal promises. All are sprinkled with the newly blessed Easter waters. Alleluias are sung and all the music echoes the joy of Easter. Sorrow turns to joy and darkness transforms into light. Our expectations of eternal life are renewed. And so we pray verses from the blessing of the pascal candle: “Christ yesterday and today, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and Omega. All time belongs to Him and all glory, forever and ever. Amen.”
A few suggestions for Easter Saturday
- Immediate preparations for Easter: housecleaning and cooking or baking the foods that can be prepared ahead of time for the Easter Sunday meal (especially the desserts!)
- Coloring Easter eggs and displaying Easter plants or flowers if possible
- Morning Prayer together. Go to CatholicTV for a schedule
- Check your TV for scheduled Easter Vigil and Easter Day showings
- Have an evening chat about what you learned during Lent about our world, about a pandemic, about God ever present in you, in your family, in our world.
- Play Easter music before going to bed.
The Catholic Online site is a treasure house of information for Lent and the Holy Days.
Loyola Press Holy Week presents devotions, retreat, articles, and activities to help us make Holy Week special.
Easter Season Resources: Will follow soon.
Holy Week is always special. This year, 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has transformed how and where we keep watch, how we gather in community, and why we pray … May God’s gifts of faith, hope, and love touch us evermore deeply.