For many Filipino families, the Holy week is the perfect time to stay at home with the family, pause, and reflect on life. It’s best spent for repentance and renewal of faith - to commemorate the sacrifice Jesus Christ, the savior, has made for us. Remembering his journey, as he died on the cross for the salvation of mankind from the original sin, devotees spend the entire week to honor his life.
On Holy Week, parishes and the entire Catholic church prepare activities and observances to walkthrough devotees to the last seven days of Jesus on earth. It commences on Palm Sunday leading to the day of Jesus’ resurrection, the Easter Sunday. In between are Christian solemn holidays of the Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Traditionally, the waving of Palaspas blessed from the church is followed by more activities like Visita Iglesia, Staging Senakulo, and spending the Pagsalubong or the reunification of Jesus and his mother, Mary.
This year, for the second time, devotees have to spend the entire week at home as no gathering is still allowed in the entire country. Some may find comfort in knowing that the whole duration will be spent rightfully to meditate and remember the Passion of Christ instead of using the break to travel and leisure. However, it may not be like the typical Holy Week with the absence of actual church visits to hear the mass. Despite this, there are a lot of alternatives families can do together to still be able to feel the solemnity of the celebration.
Here are some activities you can do at home during the Holy Week with the whole family.
1. Story Telling Time
Longer time at home, especially with kids around, makes it a great time to tell the story of the Passion of Christ. It's one good activity to introduce to the younger generation the practices and customs observed by the older generations. This way, parents don't only entertain their kids but also create a meaningful spiritual bond with them. There are several virtual aides to make the storytelling more fun and interactive at home, materials are available on YouTube and church-related online sites.
2. Watch Lent Related Short Films and Movies
One of the highlights of the Holy week is the Senakulo. It's the play that re-enacts the life of Jesus, including his sacrifices and death on the cross. This is normally played on the streets during this time, but since gatherings are not allowed, watching the movie version of this at home would make a good activity with your kids and the whole family. There are also other short films about Lent that teach viewers, especially the kids, lessons and values they can carry until they are older. It’s a good avenue to supplement kids with religious content from the media stream.
3. Attending Online Masses
The Catholic churches, as a way to help devotees hear the Word of the Lord, initiated online masses. Various entities online scheduled live streams and coverage of liturgy throughout the week. Although nothing equates to the solemnity of prayers done in the church, a safe and cozy home makes a good place to settle in while listening and internalizing the homily.
Photo from Archdiocesan Shrine of The Divine Mercy
4. Praying the Rosary
There’s no better way to contemplate more deeply on Jesus’ life and death but to pray the Holy Rosary. Praying the rosary as a family can be a good activity this Holy Week. Together, you can contemplate and reflect on the sacrifices of Jesus and meditate. You can do this before going to bed every day for the whole week duration. It’s also a good religious family bonding that can be practiced even beyond the Holy Week
5. Preparing a Healthy Family Feast
Jesus had his Passover meal on his last supper. This is supposed to be on the Wednesday of the Holy Week. As a way to commemorate this day, preparing a feast for the whole family would be a great idea. It should be taken note that during this week, although not strongly imposed by the church, devotees must abstain from eating meat from animals like pigs, cows, and goats. However, fish and other species from the sea are allowed to be eaten. Dishes can vary from vegetable to seashells or a combination of all the permitted food. This is a great opportunity to prepare a filling and healthy meal for everyone at home.
6. Artisan Easter Sunday
The last day of the Holy week is the most joyous day as it is the resurrection of Jesus. He is believed to have risen from the dead and ascended back to the heavens. The celebration of Jesus coming back to life after dying from the crucifixion can culminate through several fun activities. The Easter Sunday can be turned into an Artisan Day. Kids and adults can make arts through painting, drawing, and making crafts. Everyone can unleash their creativity, imagination, and express their happiness through art on Easter Sunday!
These are just some of the activities you can do at home to keep everyone connected to the week-long honoring of the Passion of Jesus. Don’t wish for the extravagant travels on this solemn season- but instead, be grateful for the opportunity to stay safe at the comfort of your own home. Having a place to share with your family during these times is truly a blessing, especially as not everyone has yet found the right house and lot for them.
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