Palm Sunday & Holy Week
Holy means “set apart.” Christians set apart an entire week - Holy Week - to recall the events surrounding the suffering, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus. Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday.
On this day, we celebrate the triumphant entry of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, into Jerusalem, riding a donkey. On that day, the people laid palms before Him, a gesture reserved for triumphant leaders. We celebrate this at Mass by distributing palms to the faithful who may keep them for a time for use as devotional objects. The palms are blessed at Mass. Eventually, these palms are returned to the Church where they are burned. Traditionally, their ashes are saved and distributed at next year's Ash Wednesday services.
Today: Go to YouTube to learn how to make Palm Crosses.
Holy Week: Monday & Tuesday
The Gospel for the Monday of Holy Week is the Anointing at Bethany, when Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, anointed the feet of Jesus with expensive perfumed oil and wiped then with her hair. Other events remembered on Holy Monday include Jesus cursing the fig tree for failing to give fruit and Jesus cleansing the temple, when he overturned tables and chased out the money changers with a whip made of cords.
Tuesday of Holy Week is remembered as the day on which Jesus predicted his coming death.
Monday & Tuesday: These are good days to spend a little extra time cleaning, both physically and spiritually to prepare for the Resurrection.
This is the day we remember Judas betraying Jesus, telling the high priest when Jesus would be in a place where he could be more conveniently arrested, in exchange for thirty pieces of silver. It is traditionally called Spy Wednesday, because of Judas’ sneakiness.
Today: Have a family discussion on how dangerous greed can be, and how easy it is to make bad decisions where money and power are concerned.
Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday)
The evening of Holy Thursday begins the Triduum. We focus on the Last Supper when Jesus observed the Jewish feast of Passover with his apostles, washed their feet, and instituted the Eucharist and the sacramental priesthood. On this night Jesus said to his followers, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (Jn 13:34). This verse is the reason Holy Thursday is also called Maundy Thursday; the world “maundy” comes from the Latin word mandatum, which means “commandment.”
Today: Have a family meal, as Jesus did with his apostles.
Click here, to read about the special foods that are usually eaten on Holy Thursday. This meal is called a Seder meal.
For Christians, Good Friday is a crucial day of the year because it celebrates what we believe to be the most momentous weekend in the history of the world. Ever since Jesus died and was raised, Christians have proclaimed the cross and resurrection of Jesus to be the decisive turning point for all creation.
On Good Friday we remember the day Jesus willingly suffered and died by crucifixion as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins (1 John 1:10).
Today: Place a cross in a spot of honor in your home and spend time in silence venerating the cross of Christ.
Holy Saturday is our Church’s day of great silence. No bells, no sacraments. A great silence, that is what Holy Saturday is, a day of preparation and longing.
Today: Spend a few moments in silence thinking about how confused, sad, and lonely the apostles must have been after Jesus died.
Resources from: Loyola Press; Catholic Online; Crosswalk.com; The Catholic All Year Compendium