Church Life

Holy Week

Holy Week is upon us, and with it come countless ways for us to remember these most important days in the church calendar.  In my early years as a mom, I did SO MANY things.  Lenten gardens, resurrection rolls, paper chains, lapbooks, resurrection eggs, etc, etc.  It was too much.  As with many other things in life, I’ve scaled back with the thought that doing a few things consistently and (hopefully) well will be more meaningful and less pressured.  Here’s what our Holy Week will look like this year:

Maundy Thursday:  Attend foot-washing service at church

Good Friday:  Bake hot cross buns, walk through the stations of the cross before church, and attend Good Friday service.  Silence and candles at home as we prepare for bed.

Holy Saturday:  Attend Easter Vigil and be with our youngest as he takes his first communion! Partying and sparklers after the service.

Easter Sunday:  Sleepily get ready for church, “alleluia” until our voices get hoarse, and share an Easter feast with friends and family after church.

It’s still a lot, but there’s nothing quite like the peace and joy that come Sunday afternoon when you’ve walked through this week.

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For All the Saints

When I became Anglican, my eyes were opened to the cloud of witnesses the Church has recorded and honored over time.  I want my children to know about the lives of the men and women who have gone before them, about the saints officially recognized by the Church and those not (I’m talking to you, Mr. Clive Staples Lewis). Saints in the truest definition of the word, these people led imperfect lives in the pursuit of holiness and we now believe are in the presence of Jesus himself in heaven.   I need the examples of Teresa, Francis, and Catherine and want my children’s minds to be filled with the stories, sacrifices, miracles, and trials of these precious people.

To that end, I’ve been trying to celebrate a few saints’ days throughout the year.  We’ve celebrated St.  Francis of Assisi, St. Martin of Tours, St. David of Wales, St. Theresa of Lisieux, and Saint Patrick of Ireland.  The last is the easiest, as stories and ideas abound.

If you’re new to observing Saints days, here are some tips and ideas to get you started:

  • Imaginations: Familiarize yourself with the history of the saint. Online Catholic resources are great places to start.  I have really appreciated the book, Folk Like Me, which cycles through hundreds of saints over a two year period. The bios are brief and written to be capture the attention of the young readers.  Read a short bio to your kids (or read it yourself and relay the information to your children story-telling fashion).
  • If you can, find a story book on your particular saint.  You can find a list of picture books and other kid-approved tomes here.
  • Stomachs:  Enjoy something around the table that connects to that saint:  clover leaf rolls for Saint Patrick, animal crackers and hot cocoa for Saint Francis, Welsh cakes for Saint David.  Food and stories are a perfect pair.
  • Hands: Incorporate some handcrafts, games, songs, or activities connected to the saint.  Make St. Brigid’s crosses, decorate a tree outside for the birds to remember St. Francis,  donate winter clothing to honor St. Martin, etc.
  • Hearts: Pray a special prayer of thanksgiving to God for the example of that particular saint.  I have compiled a list of prayers we’ve used here.