Ministries in the Diocese of Syracuse have teamed up to provide the faithful and their families with special ways to celebrate and focus on Holy Week during this unusual time.

Dubbed “Holy Week @ Home,” the initiative features a variety of resources and suggestions for participating in livestreamed liturgies, activities for families to engage in together, and reflections for personal prayer.

Below are adapted excerpts from the guide, provided by the Offices of Catechesis and Liturgy. Find the complete guide at syrdio.org.

April 9 : Holy Thursday

• Liturgical color: white

• First reading: Ex 12:1-8, 11-14; Psalm response: Ps 116:12-13, 15-18; Second reading: 1 Cor 11:23-26; Gospel: Jn 13:1-15

On Holy Thursday we celebrate the institution of the Eucharist as the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ and the institution of the Sacrament of the Priesthood. The foot washing scene in the Gospel of John is not only meant to be an example of humble service, but also primarily a record of the institution of the Christian priesthood and thus the Scriptural root of the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

Celebrate @ Home Activities

• Attend a liturgy online. Bishop Lucia’s Holy Thursday Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception will stream live at 5:10 p.m. at youtube.com/syrdio; find other streaming Masses here.

• Reenact the Last Supper with your family. The Last Supper was the Passover Meal or Seder Meal, but Jesus made a new Covenant with the breaking of the bread and blessing of the cup.

• The washing of the feet is a symbolic ritual of humble service. By virtue of our baptism, we are called to serve one another and care for each other, spiritually and physically. As a family, how can you serve each other in the home? How can you serve others? Plan ways to serve.

• Learn more about Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.

• The tradition of visiting seven churches on Holy Thursday is one that many families and parishes have enjoyed for decades. This year, altars of repose for the faithful to visit unfortunately cannot be set up. Instead make a virtual pilgrimage via syrdio.org — a special web page will provide links to parish websites that are livestreaming their tabernacles and will include prayers that can be recited upon visiting each church. Or make a mini-pilgrimage in your car: Drive to seven churches in your area, remaining in your car at each one. At each church, make the Sign of the Cross; read aloud and then spend a few moments meditating on one of the Seven Last Words of Christ; say one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be for our Holy Father’s Intention; make the Sign of the Cross; then proceed to the next church.

 

April 10: Good Friday

• Liturgical color: red

• First reading: Is 52:13 – 53:12; Psalm response: Ps 31: 2,6,12-13, 15-17, 25; Second reading: Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9; Gospel: Jn 18:1-19:42

On Good Friday, the world was in darkness, figuratively and literally. Jesus, our Savior, was nailed to the cross, suffered, and died for our sins as the world was in darkness. “From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land” (Mt 27:45).

Celebrate @ Home Activities

• Attend a liturgy online. Bishop Lucia’s Good Friday liturgy at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception will stream live at 2 p.m. at youtube.com/syrdio; find other streaming liturgies here.

• In this time of “darkness,” families can reflect on what it means to live in darkness, physically and spiritually. Jesus is the light of our salvation; without Him, we are spiritually living in the dark, disconnected from God. Take this time to “unplug” from noon on Friday through noon Saturday. Disconnect from the internet, the TV, cell phones, etc. Spend the quiet time in prayer, reading the scriptures, praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, and praying and reflecting on the Stations of the Cross.

• Craft your own Stations of the Cross at home. Adults and children can engage in this activity.

• Place a crucifix in a prominent place in your home. Cover it with a red cloth before the Good Friday liturgy and unveil it during the liturgy at the appropriate time. Venerate it and keep it on display throughout the day as a reminder of the love with which Christ gave his life for us and for our salvation.

 

April 11: Holy Saturday

• There are several readings for Holy Saturday; visit usccb.org to select readings to pray with your family.

On Holy Saturday the world stands vigil for the resurrection of Jesus.

The Easter Vigil celebration begins at dusk. The vigil opens with the Service of Light, which includes the blessing of the new fire and the lighting of candles and of the Paschal Candle to symbolize the Light of Christ, or Lumen Christi. Then the assembled faithful hear the scriptural telling of the salvation history. The vigil of Easter was especially devoted to the baptism of catechumens.

Many families dye Easter eggs on this day. You may wonder from where this tradition came. The Romans used to have a saying: “Omne vivum ex ovo,” or “All life comes from an egg.” Eggs have long been a symbol of fertility and rebirth. Early Christians in Mesopotamia (modern day Syria and Iraq) dyed chicken eggs red in remembrance of the blood Jesus shed on the cross. By the Middle Ages, the egg also became a symbol of the sealed tomb of Jesus. On Easter Sunday, Christians would carry eggs that they would tap against the eggs of the Christians they greeted. The cracks that formed in these eggs symbolized Jesus breaking out of the tomb.

Celebrate @ Home Activities

• Attend a liturgy online. Bishop Lucia’s Holy Saturday Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception will stream live at 8 p.m. at youtube.com/syrdio; find other streaming Masses here.

• Build an Easter Fire in your fireplace or fire pit or light candles to represent the Light of Christ. Sitting by the light, read aloud the scriptures of the Vigil liturgy. You may wish to reflect on some of these reading in a lectio divina practice. Renew the promises made at baptism.

• Decorate hard-boiled eggs. Mix ½ cup boiling water, 1 teaspoon white vinegar, and food coloring in a bowl to achieve the desired colors for your egg dye.

 

April 12: Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

• Liturgical color: white

• First reading: Acts 10:34, 37-43; Psalm response: Ps 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23; Second reading: Col 3:1-4; Gospel: Jn 20:1-9

With the end of our Lenten observance, we celebrate Christ’s resurrection from the dead, with joyous shouts of Alleluia on Easter. Sunday marks the beginning of the Easter Season, which lasts for 50 days and ends with Pentecost. During these 50 days, the Old Testament readings during Mass are replaced with readings from the Acts of the Apostles.

There are many countries in the world — such as Guyana, Grenada, Haiti, and Barbados — where kite-flying on Easter and Easter Monday is tradition. Kite-flying symbolizes the resurrection of Jesus and hope.

Celebrate @ Home Activities

• Attend a liturgy online. Bishop Lucia’s pre-recorded Easter Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception will be available any time at youtube.com/syrdio; find other streaming Masses here. Bishop Lucia’s Mass will also be broadcast on local television stations: at 6 and 9 a.m. on WSYR in Syracuse, at 6 a.m. on WBNG in Binghamton, and at 6 a.m. on WKTV in Utica.

• Alleluia! Make a joyful noise and sing Alleluia! Create banners or signs and post to your own Facebook pages to share the Good News with friends and family.

• Bake Resurrection Biscuits: A marshmallow is wrapped in pastry dough, then dipped in butter and cinnamon. After baking, the marshmallow disappears. The hollow biscuit reminds us of the empty tomb and the sweetness of Salvation which Jesus gifted to the world.

• Play Handel’s “Messiah,” which was originally written as an Easter offering. Learn more about George Frederick Handel and the history of this piece of music.

• Make and fly kites to symbolize Jesus’ resurrection.


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