My friend, Todd Williamson (Director of the Office for Divine Worship in Chicago), likes to remind people that we should not approach Good Friday as though we do not know the outcome—namely, the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter! While Good Friday is a solemn and sober celebration, we know full well that it is leading us to the joy of the Resurrection and Christ’s triumph over sin and death.
With that in mind, I thought it would be helpful to look ahead to celebrating the Easter season with those you teach.
Like Christmas, for Catholics, Easter is not a day but a season—the longest of the special liturgical seasons at 50 days! The next time you gather with your religious education class, it will be in the midst of this festive season. Here are some suggestions for how to celebrate Easter throughout these 50 days without resorting to jelly beans, Peeps, and bunnies!
- Take your class to the church to visit the baptismal font and point out the Easter decorations.
- Provide each child with a small plastic bottle to fill with holy water from the church. (Most churches have a tank with a spigot.)
- Decorate your prayer space with a bright white cloth and some Easter lilies.
- Sing a joyful Alleluia throughout the season. Kids love the Caribbean “Halle, Halle, Halle.”
- Go “Easter Caroling” and sing Easter hymns for some of the other classes, maybe even teaching a few.
- Do some Easter activities and/or crafts. (See also Catholic Icing.)
- Have the children make Easter cards for their parents or for shut-ins.
- Make welcome cards for the Neophytes (newly baptized) in your parish.
- Put on an Easter play.
- Teach children the traditional Easter greeting/exchange: “Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!” (In Greek: “Christos Anesti! Alithos Anesti!“)
- Listen to the “Hallelujah Chorus” of Handel’s Messiah and provide some background on this work of art.
- Teach about and then pray a Novena to the Holy Spirit between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost Sunday.
What other suggestions do you have for making religious education classes during the Easter season more festive?