This year, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the cancelling of church services, families have the opportunity to observe the Triduum—the three days of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday—at home. Here are some ideas:
On this day, we recall the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper, Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, and the agony in the garden.
- To recall the institution of the Eucharist, the Bread of Life, consider baking a loaf of bread as a family. It can be a favorite recipe, or you can make unleavened bread. As part of the experience, have a family member read aloud Exodus 12 about the first Passover meal.
- Read aloud John 13 that tells the story of Jesus washing the feet of his Apostles, and then consider inviting family members to wash one another’s feet. Talk about how washing feet is a symbol of service and how family members can serve one another each day.
- Work together as a family to create a diorama depicting Jesus’ agony in the garden of Gethsemane. Read aloud Matthew 26:36–46 about Jesus in the garden.
- Make Triduum tryptics as a family.
On this day, we recall Jesus’ suffering and Death and venerate the Cross.
- Invite the family to turn off all devices between noon and 3 p.m., to recall the time that Jesus suffered on the Cross. Use the time to bake hot cross buns or, if the weather permits, to go outside and plant seeds, explaining how a seed must “die” if it is to give life.
- Make sure all children know how to pray the Sign of the Cross, and teach it to those who have yet to learn this prayer.
- If your home does not have a crucifix, arrange to purchase one ahead of time, and then bless it and display it in a prominent place in the home.
- Pray the Way of the Cross as a family, using the online or printable versions from Loyola Press.
- Help your children get to know the story of Jesus’ Passion by adapting the classroom activity, “Looking for Clues,” for your family.
On this day, we hold vigil and, in the evening, we welcome the light (fire) that dispels the darkness and proclaim “Alleluia!” and “Glory to God!” for the first time in 40 days to begin the celebration of the Resurrection. We celebrate new life in Baptism and renew our baptismal promises.
- Make a Paschal (Easter) candle as a family.
- If weather and local fire ordinances allow, light a fire in your backyard in a fire pit (under adult supervision) and, as a family, sit silently around the fire.
- Pull out pictures, videos, and mementos of your children’s Baptisms, and tell stories and share memories of the events. As a family, renew your baptismal promises.
- Color Resurrection eggs, and explain how the egg is a symbol of the Resurrection (life emerging from the tomb). Decorate the eggs with religious symbols.
What other activities can families do together to mark the Triduum?