HOLY WEEK AND EASTER FOR FAMILIES IN THE HOME

Mar 20, 2020

INTRODUCTION. FAMILY PRAYER.

The family is called the “domestic church” and is a real part of the “Body of Christ.”  It is the place where we live out our faith day by day in our own particular situation. Prayer in homes takes many forms.  Apart from members reading and reflecting on the scripture readings for the Mass of the day some families pray together regularly, saying formal prayers or offering spontaneous prayers about current needs. Some pray the Rosary.  Many individuals pray novenas or special prayers for the members of their own and other families, for old and young, for the sick and those who are hurting, but all marriage and family relationships are places to grow closer to God. A regular and consistent prayer life can be a source of spiritual growth and strength at any time.   At a time of crisis group prayer or prayer chains bring about a real sense of solidarity.  . MARFAM has a variety of resources to assist families and their members.

The FAMILY YEAR PLANNER calendar and THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY..  The year planner can be used as a family liturgical calendar when important family events and commemorations are noted as reminders and to pray.  The Daily Thoughts are published daily on the website and emailed to subscribers. .They can be used in a step by step process, reading, sharing our thoughts and ending with a short prayer. https://www.marfam.org.za/daily-reflections/

LENTEN FAMILY CALENDAR.   Each member could choose an activity for the day.  If they wish at some agreed time they can gather to share and say the Family Prayer.  https://www.marfam.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/2020-LENTEN-CALENDAR.2.pdf

HOME LITURGIES, PRAYER AND ACTION activities and FAMILY CATECHESIS 

These programmes for parishes and families have been an important part of MARFAM’s ministry.  At this time as our regular church services are affected by the corona virus a collection of LENT, HOLY WEEK AND EASTER resources are being built up and made available, on the website, some in pdf form to download as well as some in print form.

HOW TO USE HOME LITURGIES.   Keep it as simple as possible. Invite all family members to be present, but don’t force anyone.  Gather around the dinner table or even in the TV area with the TV switched off for the time. .Appoint someone to lead the programme and follow the liturgy sheet step by step.

RECONCILIATION IN THE FAMILY, A SIMPLE SERVICE. https://www.marfam.org.za/reconciliation-in-the-family-a-simple-service/ 

A SIMPLE FAMILY PRAYER MEAL https://www.marfam.org.za/a-simple-family-prayer-meal/

HOLY WEEK AND EASTER REFLECTION POEMS. https://www.marfam.org.za/holy-week-and-easter-reflection-poems-2/

HOLY WEEK AND EASTER, SIMON’S STORY.  This story forms of the basis of the DAILY THOUGHTS for Holy Week  https://www.marfam.org.za/reflections-april-holy-week-easter/   

GOOD FRIDAY.  SIMPLE VENERATION OF THE CROSS WITH CHILDREN.

REQUIREMENTS.
Prepare a crucifix by covering the figure of Jesus with a purple cloth.
A Bible.

THE SERVICE.
The leader can begin by explaining to the children what happened to Jesus.
The group gathers around the crucifix.
Someone reads Matthew 27: 33-50 and Psalm 22: 1-5 or more.
The leader unveils the crucifix in 3 stages and each time the leader says:
“Behold the wood of the cross, on this hung the Saviour of the world.” Or use words as appropriate.
Everyone answers: “Come let us adore and him ”
Everyone present then kisses (or touches) the cross.

PRAYERS:
Leader: Jesus you loved us even when you were nailed to the cross.
All answer: Jesus, we thank you for your love.
Leader: Jesus, you forgave your enemies. Answer: Jesus we thank you for your love.
Leader: Jesus you obeyed your Father. Answer: Jesus we thank you for your love.
Leader: Jesus, you are alive again. Answer: Jesus, we thank you for your love.
Leader: Jesus, you care for all the people. Answer: Jesus, we thank you for your love.
Leader: Jesus you care for all of creation. Answer: Jesus, we thank you for your love.
Leader: Jesus, you love us still. Answer: Jesus, we thank you for your love.

To end say together: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

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EASTER VIGIL AND NEW LIFE

The Easter vigil liturgical celebrations consists of the ceremony of light, blessing of baptismal water, baptism or renewal of baptismal promises, litany of all saints and the Easter Mass. A suitable family celebration could be put together from the missal and suggestions below.

REMEMBERING OUR BAPTISM
To begin in a simple way talk about and look at photos of family members’ baptism and remember our godparents too. As appropriate the family can consider the meaning and importance of their baptismal promises.

THE SERVICE:
Leader: “Promises are made to be kept. At our baptism our parents and godparents promised that they would help us to follow Jesus. Now we can make those promises for ourselves.”
With lighted candles all say,” I………… promise to do my best to reject the devil and avoid evil. I confirm my belief in God the Father, in Jesus God’s only Son, in the Holy Spirit, in the holy Catholic church and what it teaches. I promise that I will try to follow Jesus to the best of my ability in the years to come.”
End by praying together the Our Father and possibly sing an Easter hymn.

A FAMILY EASTER CANDLE could be prepared and blessed and used at family prayer times.

BLESSING OF THE WATER. Water is blessed at the Easter Vigil Mass, to be used in Church and taken home.

A LITANY OF SAINTS can be adapted to include family members’ favourite saints and patrons. Leader says, “Throughout the centuries very many Christians have followed Jesus and reached heaven. Some have been recognised by the Church as saints. We can ask our own special friends among them to help us to get to heaven too.”   Each person can mention their own saints and all respond, “Pray for us.”

OTHER FAMILY ACTIVITIES.    (It is important to explain the symbolism of the different activities.)
  • Pray for and thank our priests for their dedication as they renew their commitment on Holy Thursday at the special Chrism Mass where they also receive the special oils used in Church.
  • Create a small Easter garden, with stones and rocks, a crucifix and a cave for the burial. It can also be made of edible items.
  • An Easter egg hunt around the house and garden, possibly as a treasure hunt using biblical cues.
  • Make or decorate Easter eggs. Eggs can be hardboiled and decorated with coki pens.  Bunnies and chickens are also symbolic of new life.
  • Make and/or eat hot cross buns on Good Friday and discuss the meaning of the cross. These buns were baked and given to the poor at this time of the year.
HW GOOD FRIDAY +     to download and print 
PUBLICATIONS FOR THE SEASON   prices include postage. Bulk prices apply.  Also see Publications.  some of these can be downloaded in pdf format at a small cost.  
  • STATIONS OF THE CROSS FOR FAMILIES, in English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Sotho, Tswana.  R10
  • STATIONS OF THE CROSS FOR THE WIDOWED, in English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Sotho, Tswana   R10
  • STATIONS OF THE CROSS FOR THE BEREAVED, in English, Sotho.   R20
  • GOD’S PLAN OF LOVE, THE RESURRECTION STORY for children  R30
  • STATIONS OF LIGHT Poster  R15
  • A FAMILY PRAYER BOOK   R20
  • AN HOUR OF PRAYER – PRAYING THE ROSARY FOR FAMILY LIFE. R25
  • ………………   other publications

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