It’s no secret that we are all trying to navigate the unknown and foreign waters that are currently flooding over us. We are abiding by the shelter in place acts, keeping our distance from others when we absolutely need to venture out and rescheduling all the things that we had on our calendars for the coming months. Some days it’s hard to picture what hosting spring events in the fall will look like. With life changing by the day and even by the hour, uncertainty mounts and best-laid plans are thrown to the wind. We are drawing upon our first holiday while quarantined. One that stems from new life, promises made and kept, and a clean slate for all. Easter marks a certain rebirth in us all, bringing light to the three days of darkness that leads to a glorious Sunday. I can hear the hymns ringing from the pipe organ as I imagine the smell of the lilies that adorn the vast spaces of our filled- to- the- brim- church. Yet with those cherished thoughts comes the bleak reality in front of us. The masses will be streamed from the internet, the lilies will sit on my counter instead of the altar, and the church will be as empty as that Sunday tomb. We can choose to treat the days leading up to Easter as if they were ordinary days, or we can accept the truths of the times and bring the holiness of Holy Week into our homes.
Activities can be printed, websites can be scoured, and crafts can be replicated (or at least attempted) from handy – dandy Pinterest. Despite the at-home status we are all living in, some may not want to spend the time surfing and searching for at-home substitutions for a religious occasion. I’ve compiled a few of my favorites for this piece in hopes that it can be a “one-stop-shop” for the ways you can recognize Holy Week and celebrate Easter Sunday from the home instead of the pew.
Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week (the week leading to Easter Sunday)
Even though we have been “watching” Mass every Sunday, my kiddos have lost a bit of their timeline when it comes to our church year (and most days of the week, to be honest). Take these few days to reflect from Ash Wednesday to the present day and what that looked like as a family. Did you work on adding more acts of service into your lives? Did you remove something from your daily lives that kept all members from connecting more? How are we all reacting to the season of Lent and the fears and worries around us? Although this seems deep and intense, these topics can be altered for the ages of the family members. Coming straight from Palm Sunday, Easter Sunday should be on their minds for the next few days. If all else fails, making resurrection eggs ahead of time is always an on-point activity. Luckily, this is a simple task and most ingredients are probably somewhere in your house:
In preparation for Sunday, set those Easter clothes out that we all thought we were going to don come Easter. Take the early part of the week to spring clean (if you haven’t already done so in the past 2 weeks) so you can see a physical difference post-cleaning. Make a menu for the week and list any ingredients you may need for that special dessert. I like to experiment with a few trials runs in the kitchen before making the final product, and what a perfect time to iron out any imperfections before making the final product. Let the kids be the reason that the kitchen is messy. Let Holy Week be the cause for odd-shaped cookies, counters covered in flour, and off-centered lamb cakes.
For those of us with a lamb cake mold, try this recipe:
Never fear, these cute lamb cupcakes work just as well:
And if all those fail, break out the Betty Crocker cookie mix and bake away!
Serving others does not have to be a grand gesture, as revealed to us by the infamous washing of the feet. Our acts of service on Holy Thursday set the tone for the days to come. Again, being quarantined at home allows us the time to commit and the chance to pace ourselves. Take turns washing the feet of one another. Serve a simple meal with no bells and whistles. Break out the candles and use them for your table. Switch up the house and child duties to show the kids that mom doesn’t always have to cook dinner and dad can step away as the resident teeth brusher. Choose a story or two that your kids enjoyed a year or two ago. It’s amazing how beauty and peace can be found in the simplest of things.
This somber day is one where we take it slow. The kids are off from school, the husband is off from work, and if we were in normal times, we would be experiencing the living Stations of the Cross at our church. Well, normal times are nowhere in sight right now, so we must look to technology, craft supplies, and our home to tackle this day.
The Stations of the Cross mark the journey Jesus took from his sentencing to his death to his placement in the tomb. If the 14 stations are too much for one afternoon, take a few per day that ultimately leaves you with the last station occurring on Saturday. Once again, how deep you go with this day depends on the ages of your children and their understanding of the season. In years past, coloring pages and pre-made booklets help to guide our kids’ understanding of the stations, along with dyeing Easter eggs.
I’m not usually a fan of purchasing printables online, but this was well worth the $4.00 and can be reused, stored easily, and ideal for indoors and out:
Some of our favorite coloring pages are from the following:
A day that is intended for waiting yet full of hope for the coming day, Saturday usually finds us in the kitchen. We are taking our time to bake, cook, and make ready all the things for Sunday. Little hands helping in the kitchen is always encouraged, which means I always have a helper if I need a dash of cinnamon or a pinch of sugar. From stirring the batter for the cupcakes or rolling out the dough for our Empty Tomb Rolls (see recipe below), Holy Saturday bestows calm anticipation for what’s to come.
Take a look at these kid-friendly, Easter ready, family loving recipes that taste delicious on Sunday but can be prepped on Saturday:
Even though our dinner table will only be set for 4 this year, I won’t let the current situation rob us of feeling that joy and happiness that Easter grants us. So we will get dressed up even if it is to listen to Mass on T.V. My house will smell like baked rolls, honey ham, and chocolate cake. We will eat off the good china and drink from the fancy stemware. My kids will see the adaptations and hopefully feel the same comfort and wonder that comes from that glorious day. Sorry, Corona, you cannot steal our joy this Easter.
Parishes here in San Antonio have taken to streaming daily masses, reciting the Rosary, taking us through the Stations of the Cross, and affording us the chance to attend Sunday services via the internet. I’ve listed a few SA churches below but you can search for your home parish’s streaming capabilities via their website or through YouTube or Facebook (it seems that many are appearing on those outlets for resolution and clarity purposes).
St. Pious Catholic Church – 3303 Urban Crest, 78209
St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church – 1602 Thousand Oaks Drive, 78232
Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church – 600 Oblate Drive, 78216
St. Mary Magdalen – 1710 Clower Street, 78201
St. Gerard’s Catholic Church – 1523 Iowa Street, 78203
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception – Washington D.C.
( although not local, the Shrine’s streamed services are just oh so clear and beautiful)
Daily Mass Readings – I like the ease of this site and how I can access any week’s reading
If you are looking for easy crafts to keep those bunny loving kiddos happy, wrangle them together for a family game of Easter Bingo:
Or look no farther than Alamo City Moms for tried and true egg printables that kids of all ages will enjoy decorating and making their own:
Our homes are different, our schedules askew, and most of our time is probably spent trying to figure out how to accomplish tasks X, Y, and Z without losing marbles A, B, and C. And you know what, Mamas? It’s ok. Send your kids on an extended Easter egg hunt while you kick back on the patio. Allow them to help you prepare soup and make extra to leave on a neighbor’s doorstep. Go on a pantry hunt and find something your family can spare for those in need. Create memories within the messes as we take this week to think about new life and new beginnings. Let’s show thankfulness when we can and give grace when we don’t want to; for darkness only lasts but a few days.