Monday, April 09, 2007

Our truly HOLY week; part one

We did it! We survived another holy week/Easter triduum with the kids. It was a little crazy at times-- bringing five small children to church at odd hours, three days in a row, but we survived.

Actually, it was a very beautiful time. For us, holy week is the most blessed of all weeks in the year. Easter is even more special than Christmas time (although my kids seem to disagree with me on that one since they get more presents on Christmas!). We celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ, remembering together as a catholic family the last moments of his life on earth. One of the beautiful things about being Catholic is that we get to experience our faith with our senses, and follow the rhythms of the liturgical year to remind our slow minds of the truths we believe.

The children especially enjoy this way of living our religion.

On Palm Sunday, we start the mass by waving real palm branches. Each person in the building gets a palm branch as they enter through the doors, and like the people who welcomed Jesus when he entered Jerusalem at Passover, we wave our branches over our heads as well. Of course, it's always fun to hit people over the head with them if you are a toddler, and to use them as swords if you are a preschool boy. Mommy, enjoys weaving them into traditional crafts after we return home (crosses, a bird, a crown of thorns). After mass we had two families from our church with their own small children over for breakfast and had a lovely celebration together.

Later that evening we celebrated Grandpa Jack's birthday, and the children had great fun with their extended family. At one point, the found a long piece of purple cloth and tied it onto Z declaring him to be the King... (like Jesus, entering triumphantly into the holy city).

On Holy Thursday, we returned again to church, this time in the evening, to remember the last supper; the evening during which Jesus washed the disciples feet, showing us how real leaders must be servants, not tyrants. We heard the story of the first time he turned the bread and wine into his body and blood , and how the disciples slept while Jesus waited in agony in the garden of Gethsemane for the soldiers to come and arrest him.

We sat in the front row (great seats, because mommy thought church started at 7, so we were there extra early to ensure we got a seat and parking spot... turns out it actually started at 730 so we had lots of space to choose from). The children were entranced watching the priest wash people's feet, and after mass when we silently prayed and adored Jesus waiting with him in vigil, they kneeled so innocently, praying and taking in all the sights, sounds and breathing the intoxicating smells of incense.

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