This morning, I was on EWTN Catholic Radio, namely “The Son Rise Morning Show with Brian Patrick,” sharing how to celebrate holy week with children in tow. Yes, it can be done and here’s my best advice on the “how.”

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Celebrating Holy Week with Children

I’m not sure about you, but all of our Holy Week Masses begin at 7:30 p.m.—not really the ideal time to wrangle our five children up to the church for an hour (or longer!) Mass.  It’s quite possibly a glimpse into purgatory and not for the faint of heart.

We adapted and adjusted and now celebrate Holy Week with our children in mind.  We want them to experience the week, not dread it, and we want the entire family to (happily) take part.  In layman’s terms?  We learned to compromise.

During the week, we refrain from attending any extracurricular activities, within reason.  One of us attends the Chrism Mass (someday it will be me!) and on Holy Thursday, we wash the children’s feet. Afterward, my husband takes the older ones to Mass while I tend to the younger ones at home.  We typically read a book about Easter and make it a quiet night.

On Good Friday, from 12-3 p.m., we have three hours of silence.  While it’s completely reasonable to expect our 12 and 9-year-old to adhere to that expectation, everyone else is exempt.  One must be realistic!  We have them draw a picture of the crucifixion, then either read a holy book or pray.  Those must be the darkest hours in our history and three hours of quiet doesn’t seem like too much to ask.  That evening, I take the oldest two to Mass while my husband stays home.

Holy Saturday is usually spent with friends in the morning, doing a little neighborhood Easter egg hunt and then we lay low the remainder of the day.  The Easter Vigil is the Superbowl of Catholic holidays.  There is not enough money in this world to convince me to take my children to a three-hour (plus) Mass.  That will come in time.  Instead, we whip up a batch of resurrection cookies.  It is a family favorite and the highlight of Easter morning, even more than the Easter Bunny!

Easter is most certainly a day of celebration.  We’ve opted to get going early and attend the 7:30 a.m. Mass.  It ensures we get an actual seat in the pew, instead of standing in the back, and we have the entire day to celebrate Jesus.  Usually the Easter Bunny makes a stop at our house while we’re gone and hides the Easter baskets.  The hunt for them is always entertaining.

7 Comments

  1. Bethany on March 21, 2013 at 7:10 am

    Just heard your on EWTN this morning on my way to work and I am so thankful for your simple, yet beautiful and faith-filled activities to celebrate with young children during Holy Week. I too am a convert to the Catholic faith and am always working to learn new ways to make my faith more purposeful and being a mother now makes that even more important to me! We have a 3-year-old and another on the way, and you are right, sometimes celebrating at Mass is hit or miss! I look forward to trying some of your ideas to help jump-start some family traditions of our own during this most special time of the year! Thank you!

  2. Bethany on March 21, 2013 at 7:12 am

    Just heard your on EWTN this morning on my way to work and I am so thankful for your simple, yet beautiful and faith-filled activities to celebrate with young children during Holy Week. I too am a convert to the Catholic faith and am always working to learn new ways to make my faith more purposeful and being a mother now makes that even more important to me! We have a 3-year-old and another on the way, and you are right, sometimes celebrating at Mass is hit or miss! I look forward to trying some of your ideas to help jump-start some family traditions of our own during this most special time of the year! Thank you!
    (Sorry, my email was typed incorrectly the first time~)

  3. melanie on March 21, 2013 at 8:59 am

    Sure am glad you are my friend….I have something to inspire too…for now, I will ride your coat tails! God Bless! Hugs to the family!

  4. Anna Hoefer on March 21, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    I was listening this morning and was about to turn off the radio when I heard “Next up we have Kathryn Whitaker”. How exciting! It brought tears to my eyes when you shared why you are going to the Easter Vigil this year. Praise God for the witness you have been to your family and people all across the country!

  5. […] ideas for celebrating Holy Week with kids. You can read about the ideas she shared on her interview here. Also for kids, Catholicmom.com has some great Lenten and Holy Week resources too. Additionally, […]

  6. Kathryn Whitaker Wilson on March 24, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Hi Kathryn,

    I frequently listen to the Son Rise morning show and as I was browsing their website I came across your interview when you were a guest.

    Obviously I was attracted to your message since we share the same name (even the same spelling!)

    Thanks for your sharing on Holy Week. I have 4 children now ages 15 – 19. I find that your desires and actions of raising your kids in the Catholic Faith are as similar and strong as mine. Now as my kids have grown, I am always incorporating life’s lessons that are important for teens into their faith journeys. I think that God planted that idea in me to help me raise them to be the best versions of themselves as God created them to be.

  7. […] you need a little Team Whitaker fix, I wrote this post a bit ago about celebrating Holy Week with your kids. And, I hear that Jennifer is posting the podcast from her radio show sometime soon. I’ll […]

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