Sunday, 1 April 2012

The Holiest of Weeks

I can't believe that Holy Week is upon us. This Lent has been a definite contrast of wonderfully Holy and incredibly challenging. As a whole family, we have given up sweets and potato chips (even the little kids). I know lots of folks don't make their little ones give up things, but we have always done it...they don't know they have an option! I figure this makes it easier when they are older to have always had to sacrifice!

Today is Palm Sunday. As we were out in front of the church having our palms blessed, Hadley whispered to me, "Mama, are these the palms they burn to put our ashes on our heads on Ash Wednesday." I said yes to her, but was doing a dance and singing praises inside. Thanks you Jesus! Occasionally, she does listen to me, and sometimes it sticks! Anyway, in the Catholic Church, we read the Passion during the time of the Gospel reading. The congregation reads the part of the crowd. It never fails, every year, I get teary when I have to read that part of the cruel crowd. Yelling, "Crucify Him" literally makes me sick to my stomach. But then I started thinking, isn't that what we are saying every time we sin? Yelling, "Crucify Him?" It made me sad. This whole week makes me sad. But it also makes next Sunday all the more beautiful!

So here are some of the things our family has done this Lent. They all fall under the ideas of Lent which are fasting, praying and almsgiving. Here is the website where I get most of my ideas. They have some wonderful ideas.

The first pictures are of our almsgiving project. These are pennies taped on a purple cross. We started with 40 pennies (one for each day of lent). The kids get to take one penny off a day and put it in the box in the next picture. We used a wipes container that they decorated. On Easter Sunday, they'll get to take the pennies to Church and put them in the offering basket. And do not judge my uncovered electrical outlet right next to the projects. My kids are past the "sticking fingers in sockets" age.

The next is just a calendar. This was Hadley's last year, and it's E's this year. It is a little caterpillar that travels along the lenten calendar. On Easter Sunday, he'll turn into a butterfly as a symbol of new life.

Next are our sacrifice beans. There are two jars/glasses and one started out empty. Each time the kids make a sacrifice over lent, they can put a bean from the glass to the jar. They are able to see all of the sacrifices they have made. Then on Easter, the beans will be replaced with jelly beans.

For our family prayer time, we have implemented a litany of Saints which has been really fun for the kids. We also watch Holy Heros videos 3 days a week and do the coloring sheets and crossword puzzles. Can I just say that my kids have learned more during Advent and Lent from the kids in these videos that I have taught them all year at home?! Kids learn really well from other kids. Just an observation. And for our last family prayer activity, check out the precious family pic below. This is our family of the week. This is from an Advent tradition we've started this year. Each week (for the whole year), we pick one Christmas card from our stack and pray for that family the whole week, several times during the day. The kids love focusing on that one family all week and they love taking turns drawing a new card each week!

I hope you all have a very holy "Holy Week" as we walk through the Passion of our Lord and meditate on His death and resurrection. Oh, and one other thing (I learned this on Holy Heros...I guess adults can learn from kids too); we are supposed to get all of our chores around the house done by Wednesday. That way, you can really spend time with our Lord during the Triduum. So get to cleaning!