|Icons of Holy Week: Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter|
I’ve been a little lax on LIFT Links lately (that’s a lot of Ls) — and now, as we’re headed into Holy Week and the Easter Season, I need to make up for lost time.
First, the basics. Until I met and married Jodi, I was vaguely aware that Palm Sunday was the Sunday before Easter, the Good Friday was the Friday before, and Easter was a pretty big deal–right up there with Christmas. At some point early in our relationship, my bride informed me that her family attended Mass at least three (and sometimes four or more) times during Holy Week, the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. As I’ve said more than once, they went to church on days I didn’t know church was open!
|St. Liborius Catholic Church, Polo, SD|
Jodi’s family, and many of the other parishioners at St. Liborius Catholic Church in Polo, SD, went to church at every opportunity during the Holy Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday, and morning Mass on Easter Sunday. Today, our family goes on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and either Holy Saturday or Easter Sunday. It’s a beautiful way to enter into that period of uncertainty and darkness, then light and joy, that Jesus’s disciples experienced between the Last Supper and Christ’s Resurrection.
One more thing before I share some links: attending Mass on every Sunday and all Holy Days of Obligation is one of the five Precepts of the Catholic Church — the minimum requirements to be a practicing Catholic. Receiving Holy Communion is not required every Sunday, however, receiving Holy Communion at least once during the Easter season (which is Easter Sunday through Pentecost Sunday) is required. Receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation once a year is also one of the precepts — and since being cleansed of all serious sins is required to receive Our Lord worthily, Lent is a great time of year to get to Confession so you can receive Holy Communion at Easter.
Now, some links:
- What’s the Deal With Palms on Palm Sunday?
- For a nutshell summary of the meaning behind the palm on Palm Sunday, check out Catholic Online’s FAQs About Lent.
- For a deeper history and traditions associated with Palm Sunday and blessed palms, check out Catholic Culture’s Traditions Related to Palm Sunday and Blessed Palms in the Home.
- Remember that since the palms are blessed, they should not simply be discarded. At St. Michael Catholic Church, you can place them in the empty palm box in the Gathering Space and they will be burned to create the ashes for next Ash Wednesday. Alternatively, they may be burned at home and returned to the earth, provided they are treated reverently. (In other words, don’t just throw them in the burn barrel, or in the smoker with a nice brisket. Give them their own fire.)
- What is the Triduum and Why Is It Important?
- Jimmy Akin at the National Catholic Register offers a great summary: 6 Things You Need to Know About the Triduum — and at the end of the article, includes links to other Things You Need to Know articles about Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. Great stuff!
- Also, this article from the Catholic Courier out of Rochester, NY, mentions a number of Triduum traditions, including outdoor Stations of the Cross.
- We have our own Living Stations of the Cross on Palm Sunday and Good Friday — an excellent way to enter into Christ’s Passion.
- What Do Bunnies and Eggs Have to Do With All of This?
- About Catholicism website provides a basic overview of Easter in the Catholic Church and the Easter Duty — these links will give you a Catholic understanding of the Feast, without the eggs and bunnies.
- The Catholic Family Faith blog offers an explanation of how bunnies and eggs came to be a part of the Easter tradition, as well as a couple of suggested family activities.
- As far as pros and cons go, the Catholic Realist blog includes the post “I Hate the Easter Bunny…” while I take a more positive view in an old newspaper column, “A Hare’s Hare.”
- For more on whether Catholic families should “celebrate” the Easter Bunny, check out this discussion thread on Catholic Answers.
- Any Ideas for Family Easter Traditions? Check out the following: