April 9-15: Holy Week
Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord + Triduum + St. Teresa of Los Andes + Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
15% OFF + FREE FAST SHIPPING + A NEW RELIGIOUS ADVENTURE NOVEL FOR TEENS
Sunday is the last day to order stuff from Gracewatch Media in time for Easter. Use coupon code easter15 to get 15% off, and we’ll also throw in free fast shipping (first class or priority mail) to make sure you get your books in time for Easter.
Be sure to check out In the Realm of Mist and Mercy, our new religious adventure novel for young teens!
WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR KIDS DURING HOLY WEEK
1. Send your kids on a Holy Week scavenger hunt. Give your kids a heads up about what to expect before the liturgies of Holy Week—it’ll give the younger kids something to do, and it’ll help the older kids to participate with greater understanding and reverence. We’ve got a list of 25 things for kids to spot during Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil. They’re broken down into a shorter list for each liturgy, along with a brief explanation of each item. Go over them right before each liturgy, or even in the car on the way to Mass . . . then check in after Mass to see how many things your kids spotted. Plus: We’ve also got a printable cheat sheet for your kids to bring along.
3. Tell little kids the story of Jesus’ Passion. Use a printable children’s Stations of the Cross to make a story timeline that you can use to tell the story of Jesus’ Passion, then let your kids use the accompanying cards to put the events of the Passion in order themselves. Heidi Indahl has all the details, and links to a simple black-and-white printable children’s Stations.
4. Give. Have your kids bring their CRS Rice Bowl donations to church this week; if they did a giving jar, the money in that can go to your local food shelf or other charity, to be replaced by jelly beans on Easter Sunday. Have your kids contribute to the Collection for the Holy Land on Good Friday.
5. Pray the Seven Sorrows of Mary in the days leading up to Good Friday. It’s traditional! Pray an Our Father and seven Hail Mary’s for each of her seven sorrows. You can find ways to pray by searching “Chaplet of Our Lady of Sorrows” or “CRS Seven Sorrows”; we also have a handy article on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows that you might find helpful.
WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR KIDS ON PALM SUNDAY
6. Preview that Palm Sunday whiplash. Check out this Sunday’s readings with your kids beforehand . . . we’re in for some major whiplash as we go from singing “Hosanna!” to welcome Jesus to Jerusalem to “Crucify him!” moments later in the same liturgy. Sounds kinda human, doesn’t it? Check it out with Jen Schlameuss-Perry in Breaking Open the Word at Home.
7. Read the Pope’s message to young people for World Youth Day. Sunday is also World Youth Day, and Pope Francis has released a video message to young people urging them to prepare for the next international World Youth Day gathering in Panama in 2019. “Dear young people, God is also watching over you and calling you, and when God does so, he is looking at all the love you are able to offer. Like the young woman of Nazareth, you can improve the world and leave an imprint that makes a mark on history ‒ your history and that of many others. The Church and society need you. With your plans and with your courage, with your dreams and ideals, walls of stagnation fall and roads open up that lead us to a better, fairer, less cruel and more humane world.” Read the entire message and watch the video here.
8. Eat figs. Palm Sunday is also known as “Fig Sunday” in some places because the Gospel of Mark records that Jesus cursed a fig tree after entering Jerusalem (Mark 11:12-14). Why would we eat figs on this day when the story is all about how Jesus couldn’t eat them? No idea, but that’s tradition for you. In any case, you can try this nice Stuffed Fig Appetizer over at Grace Before Meals. (The fig tree incident, by the way, was a prophetic action describing the fate of those who do not produce fruit in the Kingdom of God.)
9. Make a beautiful road and weave palms. For Palm Sunday, encourage your kids to make a “beautiful road” to welcome Jesus. The people of Jerusalem used coats and palm branches; your kids might decorate the front sidewalk with colorful chalk drawings and flowers. It’s also traditional to burn or bury your old palm fronds on Palm Sunday…you don’t throw them away because they are blessed. You can also make crosses from your new palm fronds following these directions at Fish Eaters, where you can also read about other Palm Sunday traditions; or look up “palm weaving” online for ideas about what to do with those blessed palms once you get them home.
WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR KIDS ON HOLY THURSDAY
10. Make unleavened bread and grape juice for Holy Thursday. Bake a loaf of unleavened bread with your kids for your evening meal; tell the story of the Last Supper as you work together. Then, help your kids make grape juice from real grapes, and let them drink the juice at supper on Holy Thursday. Point out that just as the grapes are crushed to make wine, Jesus was “crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5).
11. Eat festive food. Catholic Cuisine has a lengthy article (Holy Thursday in the Home) on the traditional celebration of Holy Thursday, including some great meal suggestions (scroll to the bottom of the page for these) inspired by the Last Supper. Some Christians eat a modified Passover Seder meal on this day; you can find detailed instructions for preparing a Holy Thursday Seder meal at CatholicCulture.org. In any case, Holy Thursday is a festive day in the Church (the liturgical color at Mass is white), so choose something festive to serve. Wine (and sparkling grape juice for the kids) is definitely on order. At our house, the most “festive” food is pizza. Pizza for Holy Thursday??? Well, why not? Especially if you use a yeast-free pizza dough recipe (get an easy one on Cooks.com) to imitate the unleavened bread eaten at the Passover meal…and if you use appropriate toppings (real olives to represent the olive grove in the Garden of Gethsemane; red grapes, cut in half, to represent the cup of wine; spinach and onions, to represent the bitter herbs)…and if you shape the ingredients to make a kind of cross. Rushed? Get thin bagels at the store and have your kids decorate them with the toppings; bake at 425 for about 5 minutes or until brown. Use your meal time to talk about what to expect at the Holy Thursday service.
12. Strip your prayer table. If you have a prayer table or home oratory, strip it bare on the evening of Holy Thursday or the morning of Good Friday, and keep it that way through Saturday evening. Make a connection to the altar at your parish being stripped bare on Holy Thursday. If you own a crucifix, place it on your prayer table or in another accessible place where it can be reverenced throughout Good Friday. Prepare festive decorations to place on your prayer table on Easter morning.
WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR KIDS ON GOOD FRIDAY
13. Fast on Friday. Most of us adults won’t be eating much on Good Friday—one full meal, two small meals (not to equal one full meal), and no snacks in between, plus no meat. (Adults who are sick or over age 65 are exempt…find out more at the USCCB Fasting & Abstinence page.) Kids age 14 and older are called to abstain from meat.
But be sure to have Hot Crossed Buns as part of your Good Friday meal, though; you can find a recipe at Catholic Cuisine.
14. Be quiet. If you do not attend Good Friday services with your kids, maintain an atmosphere of quiet prayerfulness between noon and three on Good Friday.
15. Keep a Good Friday Timeline throughout the day. Help your kids keep track of the events of Jesus’ Passion throughout the day with a Good Friday Timeline; Becjky Arganbright explains how.
SAINTS FOR YOUR KIDS TO KNOW & LOVE
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (Monday), the French Jesuit anthropologist and geologist most noted for his mystical vision of evolution. “From his knowledge of palaeontology and evolution, Teilhard proposed three key steps in evolution: the evolution of matter into a ‘geosphere’, namely the earth; the evolution of living organisms (‘biosphere’); and the advent of thinking man, thereby giving the world an intellectual dimension, or ‘noosphere,'” says the Ocford Reference. “He visualized this progression of complexity culminating in an ‘omega point’ – when the natural and supernatural will achieve unity in God. Although he was a devout Catholic, the Church refused him permission to publish his books during his lifetime.” Published posthumously, his work has been hugely influential; Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is a fan of Teilhard’s liturgical vision.
St. Teresa of Los Andes (Wednesday). Inspired by St. Therese of Lisieux’s Story of a Soul, Teresa entered a Carmelite convent at the age of 19. She died about a year later, but the holiness of her life and the diary she left behind inspired others. At age 15 she wrote in her diary: “I am God’s. He created me and is my beginning and my end. If I am to become entirely His, I must do His will. From now on, I put myself in Your Divine Hands. Do what You like with me.”
ALL THE COOL KIDS . . .
. . . are going to be reading In the Realm of Mist and Mercy, a new fantasy/adventure novel from author Susan A. Howard. When young Waljan of the Wood is forced to move to a new home in the city, his first instinct is to resist everything about the change. However, it isn’t long before his new circumstances put him on a collision course with the evil lurking in Mortinburg, as well as his own true identity . . . an identity that will only become clear if he can somehow discover what lays beyond the mysterious, unassailable wall that lies waiting in the woods outside the city. You can read an excerpt from Chapter 7: Secrets of the Heart right now, or preview the entire book at Gracewatch Media.
In the Realm of Mist and Mercy was written for ages 9 and up as an allegory of the Catholic faith, and is accompanied by a book of lesson plans with a complete catechetical framework. You can get it now at Gracewatch Media, or wherever books and ebooks are sold.
MARK YOUR (CATHOLIC) CALENDAR FOR . . .
- Easter (Apr 16)
- Earth Day (Apr 22)
- Divine Mercy Sunday (Apr 23)
- Catholic Home Missions Appeal (Apr 29-30)
“Pray with me that young people may respond generously to their own vocation and mobilize for the great causes of the world,”
—Pope Francis, in a video address to young people
WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT ONLINE
We’re talking about media culture and setting limits for what our kids watch over on our Facebook group, Peanut Butter & Grace Parents. Join us! It’s a closed group, so you’ll need to request to be added.
GET MORE PEANUT BUTTER! GET MORE GRACE!
BOOKS FOR SPRING
Easter ordering deadline: April 7
MISSION:CHRISTIAN Easter 2017. Did you know that the Easter season lasts longer than Lent? Help your kids celebrate Easter to the fullest with this colorful daily journal. It’s full of missions for every day, plus prayer prompts, saint stories, fun facts, and much more. Order early; quantities are limited.
The Illuminated Rosary complete set. “I can lead the rosary now!” That’s what we hear kids saying when they have one of the Illuminated Rosary books in their laps. The words of the prayers are printed on every page, opposite a sacred artwork depicting the mystery of the rosary being said. Kids love these books, but so do adults and grandparents! Available in hardcover (allow extra time for shipping) or softcover sets.
Molly McBride set. Kids love the spunky young Molly McBride and her feisty sidekick, the wolf-pet Francis. Get books one and two for one low price while supplies last.
And coming next week, In the Realm of Mist and Mercy, a novel about an orphan named Waljan and the secrets he discovers behind a mysterious, unassailable wall. The novel is an allegory of faith, and comes with an accompanying catechetical study guide.