Author Topic: Good Friday with children  (Read 252 times)

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Offline s2srea

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Good Friday with children
« on: April 10, 2020, 09:26:21 AM »
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  • Hey everyone . I hope y'all are having a fruitful and holy lent. 

    I'm curious what some of you do to keep holy this most solemn day of Our Lord's crucifixion and death with children. I have a range of 4-11. Thank you in advance!

    Offline Matthew

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    Re: Good Friday with children
    « Reply #1 on: April 10, 2020, 10:03:22 AM »
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  • There's no reason why you couldn't do a non-liturgical "adoration of the Cross" complete with someone singing the beautiful chant that accompanies it. If no one can sing the chant, you could play that for them (on Youtube, CD, etc.) before or after the ceremony.

    In general, I would recommend getting some CDs or youtube tracks of various gregorian chant and Catholic hymns for this week. The best chant of the year happens around this season. And don't forget all the beautiful Easter hymns! This can be listened to any time, not necessarily during "prayer/catechism/home liturgy with Dad" time.

    On Good Friday there's Stations of the Cross. That particular part of the typical Good Friday experience transfers well to a home setting.

    On Holy Saturday you could read the Lessons (or some of them), but definitely do the Renewal of Baptismal Promises. I don't see why a head of house couldn't lead his family in that, especially if going to a church is impossible.

    You can read a few of the prayers in English (the ones the priest says in between "Flectamus Genua, Levate")
    You can read aloud the entirety of the Passion according to St. John. If you have younger kids, you might have to stop every so often and re-tell what you just read in simpler language. Point out things, make connections for them, etc.

    Traditional hand missals often have great "summary text" to describe what the feast days are about. Some also have beautiful artwork rich with symbolism that you can explain to your kids.

    I've been reading to my kids bits and pieces of the Lessons and Epistles, to show them how minute elements about Our Lord's life, passion, and death were predicted hundreds of years earlier. "Isaias is like a 5th Evangelist". Also parts of Psalm 21. They recognized some lines from that, which I read aloud in the various versions of the Passion this week.

    I taught them about the Paschal Lamb, how it was to be a fully grown, unblemished male, the Jҽωs weren't to break a bone of it, and they fastened it on 2 pieces of wood -- like a cross. It was cooked in an in-ground pit of coals and when done, its skin would have looked like a scourged, crucified man.

    In general it's good to go through the hand missal for each feast day, and explain to your kids what you're missing -- what you'd be seeing if these were normal times, if you had a Mass option available, etc. Tell them about the Gloria with bells ringing on Holy Thursday, after which the bells and church organ go silent until the Gloria of the Midnight Mass on Easter. Practice covering your cruficixes and holy images on Passion Sunday. There are so many rich liturgical traditions that make the Catholic Faith very INTERESTING, about as good as it gets, during this time of the year.

    You can point out the interesting anachronisms in the Holy Thursday and other Holy Week liturgy -- things that weren't changed per se, they just never got updated as the Tridentine Mass organically developed after 400 AD. For example, there was an old doxology "Who will come to judge the living and the dead, and the world by fire." You only see this today in certain blessings, and Holy Week.

    Look at the calendar -- not only is there 40 days preparation before Easter, but the week after Easter is all special as well: "Easter Monday", "Easter Tuesday", etc. and those are all 1st Class and no feast day can override them.
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    Offline Matthew

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    Re: Good Friday with children
    « Reply #2 on: April 10, 2020, 10:19:15 AM »
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  • The more you know about the liturgy, the more you can teach your kids. The more you know, the more you can teach.

    For example, you can answer their question "What's up with the deer in so many of the pictures?" It would be good to teach them about the symbolism of "the hart panting after the waters" being an image of us seeking after the Living God.

    We read through all 4 versions of the Passion this week, on the days the Church reads them: St. Matthew (the first and best!) on Palm Sunday, St. Mark on Tuesday, St. Luke on Wednesday, and St. John on Friday. I encouraged them to listen for the "unique parts" in each version. And I couldn't resist stopping and pointing out many of these unique elements. St. Luke mentions the Good Thief. St. Matthew does the best job of conveying what happened after Our Lord's death. St. John has a ton of new details, including Pilate insisting that the title read, "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jҽωs" over the objections of the Pharisees.

    But in general, you can just take the hand missal and use a bit of Catholic common sense and guidelines -- the head of the house should lead in matters of religion, but

    1. He is not a priest (this is pretty obvious)
    2. Related to #1, he can't speak in God or the Church's name, or bless objects. Though you can "bless" those under your authority, old testament style, if you so desire. "May you always be pleasing to God, and spend eternity loving and praising Him."
    3. So besides your authority as head of the house, as far as your status goes you are equal to "your parishioners" (wife and kids), unlike a priest. You are all laymen.
    4. Therefore you shouldn't "play priest" by dressing up or going through the exact motions a priest would. For example, I wouldn't act out the "Ecce Lignum Crucis" that the priest does on Good Friday. Having everyone kiss the feet on a Crucifix, that's a good private act of devotion. But leading your family to renew their baptismal promises, on the day the Church normally has us do so, seems fine. In that instance, the priest is just leading everyone in that activity -- he's not doing anything specifically priestly there.
    5. That having been said, the father of a family should take his role seriously, to make sure the kids know that Holy Week is a big deal, and serious business. Don't laugh or joke, not even to take the edge off your nerves. You should be comfortable leading your family in matters of religion by this point.

    In short, you can do anything involving LEADING your family in prayer and TEACHING your family in matters of God, religion, and the liturgy.
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    Offline s2srea

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    Re: Good Friday with children
    « Reply #3 on: April 10, 2020, 10:53:44 AM »
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  • All very good ideas. Thanks Matt. 

    Offline Matthew

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    Re: Good Friday with children
    « Reply #4 on: April 10, 2020, 11:46:05 AM »
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  • Another idea -- you could make a bonfire if such is legal in your area. You can't bless it because you're not a priest, but you could keep the element of lighting a fire at night on Holy Saturday and maybe even light your small candles from that flame, that each person holds while renewing the baptismal promises.

    I would do a bonfire myself, but we're supposed to have thunderstorms all day Saturday, which will only end at dawn on Easter Sunday.
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    Offline SeanJohnson

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    Re: Good Friday with children
    « Reply #5 on: April 10, 2020, 12:55:25 PM »
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  • SGG.org streaming live, then Rosary, then Stations tonight, with respectful silence maintained in the house (insofar as possible with 7 kids) until Easter Vigil Mass Saturday morning, and Lent ending around noon.
    Romans 5:20 "But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more."

    -I retract any and all statements I have made that are incongruent with the True Faith, and apologize for ever having made them-

    Offline Kazimierz

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    Re: Good Friday with children
    « Reply #6 on: April 10, 2020, 07:28:05 PM »
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  • It is more proper at this time of the liturgical year to listen to the parts of Handel's Messiah that recount Our Lord's Passion. It being sung in English should help with smaller children, plus loads of catechetical opportunities ( even why the KJV is a bad translation.)

    Listening to any of Bach's Passion accounts is far more difficult but the early you expose kids to great music, the better.

    Being a big Beethovenfile as is His Excellency +W, I listen to LVB's Christ on the Mount of Olives on GF or HS. Sunday morning before Mass I have tried to make a tradition of listening to the Missa Solemnis. Majestic, loud and triumphant music perfect for the morning of the Resurrection. (Herbert von Karajan with Berlin Philharmonic and Weiner Singverein is the way to go!)
    Da pacem Domine in diebus nostris
    Qui non est alius
    Qui pugnet pro nobis
    Nisi  tu Deus noster

    Offline Ekim

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    Re: Good Friday with children
    « Reply #7 on: April 11, 2020, 08:00:34 PM »
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  • Too late now, but....

    We have a very large Crucifix, probably about 42” tall.  We set it up just two or three feet above the ground with a red velvet curtain draped over a folding board....just high enough so that Our Crucified Lord is right in front of everyones face as we kneel.

    We (6 kids 5-17, mom and dad) all kneel and say the Way of the Cross by St Alphonsus Liguori.  We start off with 14 candles lit.  After each station one of the children blows out a candle.  The room is already dimly lit... just bright enough to read.  The room gets darker as each candle is extinguished.  We sing the Stabst Mater in Latin at the beginning of each Station and English at the end (just as it appears in the booklet). After all the recommended prayers in the book we offer the Divine Praises and then prostrate before the Crucifix and offer the St. Michael Fatima prayer (My God, I believe,I adore, I trust...), afterwards we venerate the Crucifix.

    It works out well because the kids understand the solemnity of the moment.  It holds the attention of the little ones because they actively participate in the “ritual” and come to understand with the passing of the “bright light” that the world has gotten darker.  This takes just about an hour...long enough for the little ones to know this is “important stuff” and short enough that they don’t lose their focus.

    We have a spars meal and try to keep the solemnity of the day with little talking.  Later in the evening we watch “Jesus of Narareth” starting with the Last Supper.

    Perhaps when my children get older we can read through the Paasion and follow the Liturgical prayers, but at their young age, this works well for now.


    Offline SimpleMan

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    Re: Good Friday with children
    « Reply #8 on: April 11, 2020, 08:47:38 PM »
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  • Too late now, but....

    We have a very large Crucifix, probably about 42” tall.  We set it up just two or three feet above the ground with a red velvet curtain draped over a folding board....just high enough so that Our Crucified Lord is right in front of everyones face as we kneel.

    We (6 kids 5-17, mom and dad) all kneel and say the Way of the Cross by St Alphonsus Liguori.  We start off with 14 candles lit.  After each station one of the children blows out a candle.  The room is already dimly lit... just bright enough to read.  The room gets darker as each candle is extinguished.  We sing the Stabst Mater in Latin at the beginning of each Station and English at the end (just as it appears in the booklet). After all the recommended prayers in the book we offer the Divine Praises and then prostrate before the Crucifix and offer the St. Michael Fatima prayer (My God, I believe,I adore, I trust...), afterwards we venerate the Crucifix.

    It works out well because the kids understand the solemnity of the moment.  It holds the attention of the little ones because they actively participate in the “ritual” and come to understand with the passing of the “bright light” that the world has gotten darker.  This takes just about an hour...long enough for the little ones to know this is “important stuff” and short enough that they don’t lose their focus.

    We have a spars meal and try to keep the solemnity of the day with little talking.  Later in the evening we watch “Jesus of Narareth” starting with the Last Supper.

    Perhaps when my children get older we can read through the Paasion and follow the Liturgical prayers, but at their young age, this works well for now.
    I really like this.  It is very well-suited to families.


     

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