Passion Week as a Family
Today is Palm Sunday. In a normal time (without a Chinese virus roaming around) we'd have gone to Holy Mass this morning and received the blessed palm branches and processed with them outside the Church. Be that as it may, we still celebrate Passion Week as normal as possible.
Here are the Biffert Family Passion Week Traditions:
After receiving our palm branches, the children make crosses and other designs. These are placed on our prayer table and around the crucifixes in the children's rooms. My oldest daughter will make a crown of thorns with tooth picks. There will be 70 tooth picks in the crown and every time the children make a sacrifice this week, they'll take a thorn out of the crown. The goal is to have no thorns left by Easter Sunday.
St. Matthew's Passion by Bach:
With family and friends we choose two evenings, sip wine and listen to the beautiful music. We have the original in German with the translation in English. The children are starting to get to know the music and their favourite parts. This is great to see.
Our goal here is to read the Passion account in each of the four Gospels. We follow the Roman Missal and read from it as a family. The older ones sometimes read the accounts on their own in bed.
On Holy Thursday, we celebrate the Last Supper by, of course, attending Holy Mass, but also it is the time where Dad washes the feet of the family. Sometimes ... their feet are a bit too ticklish.
Good Friday: Day of Fasting
Now things begin to get busy! In the morning, we make hot cross buns,
which are traditionally eaten after the 3pm Veneration of the Cross. As a family, pray the Stations of the Cross outside at one of the local parishes. We begin the novena to the Divine Mercy and blow out all the candles. These won't be relit till Easter morning.
Holy Saturday is a day of mourning. We contemplate Mary and her
sorrows as we pray the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows. If there is a chance to venerate the tomb at a local church, we'll do so. We also take an hour of silence as a family in commeneration of the His death. Our clothing represents the occasion of mourning, so we all wear black. The Easter bread is made and set aside for Easter morning
and Mommy prepares the Easter basket to be blessed by the priest at Holy Mass.
The Easter basket includes:
- Easter Bread - symbol of Christ Himself
- Cheese - bland to symbolize our need for moderation.
- Ham - symbolic of great joy and abundance.
- Sausage - symbolic of God's generosity.
- Horseradish - symbolizes passion of Christ still in our minds.
- Salt - Christians are salt of the earth.
- Bacon - symbolizes God's abundant mercy
- Butter in the shape of a lamb
- Eggs - represent new life
The Easter basket tradition has been a wonderful addition to our traditions and makes a great lunch after Sunday Morning Mass. We've been to parishes where we were the only one to bring a basket, and other parishes where it gets competitive in how beautiful they are done up!
Finally, before bed (or before the Easter Vigil Mass) we place the Resurrection cookies in the oven and tape up the oven. In the morning, we open the oven and the cookies are empty!
Easter Saturday and Good Friday is also the days we bake for the Octave of Easter.
For great recipes see: https://catholiccuisine.blogspot.com
Kenton E. Biffert