Keeping the holy in Holy Week


When I was growing up in a Catholic country, we had strict observance of Holy Week. That included no TV, radio or any means of entertainment until Easter Sunday. I know this may sound extreme, but I know that this is not necessarily so here.
My husband invited my brothers to play shuffle board on Holy Saturday in his parent’s place. I was going to forbid my young daughter to go to a birthday party on the same day for the reason that I wanted her to observe it reverently (she goes to Catholic school, so she knows that Jesus is still dead). Thankfully, the party was cancelled because no one could come. But now, my husband is going to have fun, which I believe is irreverent and not being a good example for the kids. How can I put back reverence for Holy Week as part of family tradition which I grew up with? Maybe not as harsh, but having fun???



Well, I think step one is talking to your husband and getting agreement on Holy Week and how your family will observe it, including attendance at Mass, Good Friday, Easter Vigil, etc.

From there it will be easy to establish house rules ahead of time so that children know what to expect regarding that week and adults can make arrangements to attend social activities another time.

Now, if your husband is not on the same page religiously then you have a different issue. Perhaps discuss in the context of next year, and plan ahead so that you will add more and more spiritual activities during lent (stations, prayers, almsgiving) and culiminate in Holy Week services.

If he has no interest at all in making this a spiritual time, I don’t know what you can do b/c his example will speak volumes to your children.


I understand where you are coming from.

My sister-n-law is having a party for my nephew on Good Friday. Then on Holy Saturday night they want to take my mother-n-law to eat out for her birthday. I really wish they would have planned these events at another time, but they live in Alabama and are comeing down wed. to Sun., so I can understand why they planned the events at these times. I also do not think they honestly realize they are doing anything irreverant. Where I live a lot of people have crawfish boils on Good Friday. I realized a few years ago that you really should not be having parties like this on Good Friday, so I have been staying away from that and going to way of the cross and the communion service on Good Friday. I just do not know what to do this year. I know if I do not go to my nephews party they will want to know why.

Any suggestions?

Kerri :slight_smile:


If you do discuss this with your husband, please do it out of the hearing of the children, and make some attempt to present a united front to them.


This is an excellent Catholic children's Bible (one that I wish our family had grown up using & praying and referencing to the CCC):

I love reading it (I'm 52 this year). It references over to the Cathecism and there's a daily prayer to recite and a daily activity on most pages which involve the family.

Another thing I really like, is that the Chapters are indexed over to the liturgical year (Lent, Easter, Ordinary Time, Advent, Christmas.)

The Children's Bible is $20 and a paperback copy of the CCC is $9.

What might also help your family on a year round basis, is the Magnificat. It has the daily Mass readings in it, and interesting comments from the writers.

Those readings could be tied into the Children's Bible.


Thanks for the replies.:)


One thing that has always helped me is tocreate new traditions when I have wanted to move away from bad habits or less than ideal habits. What traditions do you have from your childhood? Unfortunately, a simple quiet day of reading the Bible is not likely to work to keep your family from looking for other "entertainment".

So perhaps, plan to color Easter eggs on Holy Saturday. Explaining to your children about the new life reminding us of Christ's resurrection. Visiting family is an excellent idea, but go with plans for an activity everyone can participate in (that isn't shuffleboard). Maybe making Easter cards or treats to take to a nursing home during Easter week, perhaps bring a good Christian movie or a favorite like "Ben Hur" or "the Ten Commandments". This would also be a good time to visit the cathedral or local shrine. Put dinner in the crock pot and invite your relatives to go with you and then come to your house for dinner (instead of going out to eat).

Services like Stations or Tenebrae, with incense and candlelight, help to put everyone in a reverent mood and make Easter more than just family dinners and candy.


My parents and I used to watch Jesus of Nazareth every year during Holy Week. We also went to services together.

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