Putting the “Holy” back in Holy Week

Holy Week started penetentially with my flu on Palm Sunday. Things didn’t improve greatly for Monday or Tuesday despite my feeling much better. Wednesday I had decided last minute we would attend Tenebrae at our parish but Joseph had school Thursday and it was just going to be too late (we voted and next week Spring Break is scheduled for Holy Week–as God intended it).

Thursday after school, Joseph and I ate a quick dinner and then headed over to church 3 of 3 for Holy Thursday Mass. The Mass was beautiful. The priest had a great homily and it was a Mass of people who truly wanted to be there. I felt nourished  body and soul and knew that things were turning around.

Holy Thursday Tabernacle

The Tabernacle at All Saints on Holy Thursday…open and empty. (A lot of these pics were taken on my cell phone which is not great.)

Everyone was off from school and work on Friday. In the morning we just had kind of a lazy morning and a light lunch for Jeff and the kids (some of us were fasting).

At 2 pm, we headed back to All Saints for Veneration of the Cross. I had originally planned for Stations and Veneration at our parish but we had missed Stations all Lent (despite best intentions) and it was just going to be too long a day being as we would have to stay because of how far we live. At All Saints, families were encouraged to venerate the Cross together, so Joseph and I went up together. It made him feel more comfortable.

Good Friday Tabernacle

The Tabernacle at daylight on Good Friday.

Saturday was pure exhaustion. And it was all worth it. Growing up and still now, my mom had always brought our food to church on Holy Saturday to be blessed. It is a tradition in the Eastern Rite Catholic churches as well as the Latin Rite Catholics in Eastern Europe. My grandfather is Polish and we got the tradition passed down.

For years no parishes near where we lived did a blessing of the food. Last year our old parish offered it but we couldn’t get there with our move pending but this year while our parish wasn’t doing it, I found out that parishes 2 and 3 (Infant of Prague and All Saints) were. I decided to head in the other direction to Infant of Prague because I also had to go into town to get my work schedule for this week.

We raced into town to get my schedule and the last few things we needed for our Easter Basket/Food. Here is the list of traditional foods and their meanings. We made it to the church with just a few minutes to spare. I didn’t have a “basket” basket and used a plastic tub and a re-usable grocery bag and covered our food with cheese cloth instead of the fine cloths typically used. There were about eight families total there and the older parishoners loved to see young kids. Joseph was my photographer for this event.

It was Father Jeff’s first time doing the blessing and he did great!

My butter lamb was definitely lacking but it served its purpose!

Butter Lamb

Let’s just say, I could use classes, a tutorial, something!

Joseph insisted on going to “the four hour long Mass with fire” (it did have fire but it was only 2 1/2 hours) and William wanted to go to Sunday Mass. Guess what Mom ended up doing.

Joseph looked dapper for the Easter Vigil.

Joseph Easter Vigil

We got there way early but there’s no such thing as too much time for prayer! The Church looks even more beautiful at Easter because we haven’t seen it all prettied up for six whole weeks!

Easter Vigil Altar

It’s hard to see in the low light but the Tabernacle is still open before Mass!

Joseph made it through the whole Vigil! It was beautiful. We did all seven readings and Psalms and baptized one catechumen.

After the Vigil we lit a candle for Nanny Kathleen in the chapel. RIP Nanny Kathleen.

Praying for Nanny Kathleen

He slept all the way home.

William wanted Mass “just me and Mom” this morning. We had bad weather this morning so he and I went to All Saints. We had wanted to go to the beach chapel but the cool temps and rain changed our mind. It was standing room only but I remembered why I enjoy the Sunday morning liturgy so much.

Afterward we came home and hung the Easter poster the boys made Friday evening up on the front door.

Easter Poster

The boys came up with about 98% of this content. That big purple splotch is actually supposed to be the Precious Blood (it’s next to the Body of Christ) which William artistically rendered it in a “wine-glass chalice.”

We’ve decided to have “Easter Dinner” tomorrow night. I didn’t do baskets for the kids but they did get a Chocolate Bunny, jelly beans, and a couple other treats this morning. I’m sure tomorrow (when I go back to work and the kids go to visit their grandmother) will be a “holy hangover” but I can’t think of a better one! And in a few weeks, Joseph will make his First Holy Communion, welcome Easter, all 50 days!