10 ways for families to observe Holy Week

| March 24, 2015 | 0 Comments

Ideas for observing Holy Week as a family adapted from the faith formation team of St. Edward in Bloomington.

General suggestions

  • Give up technology from Good Friday until Easter Sunday morning.
  • Sit down as a family (or group) each night of Holy Week and plan a spring party for April or May for those of all ages.
  • Daily Bible study. (It’s easy for only one week!)
  • Attend Triduum liturgies, going each day to a different parish.
  • Check Pinterest and blogs for online ideas for crafts for each day and display (See crown of thorns bread recipe below.)

Holy Thursday

1. Host an at-home foot washing ceremony. It is really powerful to wash someone else’s feet, and especially for children to wash their parents’ feet and each other’s. Use the account of the Lord’s supper in John 13:1-11.

2. To connect with the Last Supper and Jesus’ blessing of bread and his offering it to the Apostles as his body, bake bread for Holy Thursday’s evening meal. Follow the simple recipe on this page. (Even though it contains a rising element — the baking powder — it does not contain yeast, the leavening agent, in accordance with the Passover.) The bread can be used in prayer or just as a snack with honey or butter.

Good Friday

1. Create your own crown of thorns. Use the same bread recipe, but instead of forming a loaf, cut the dough into three 18-inch ropes and braid them into a circle. Add toothpicks and bake per the recipe on this page. Use the crown of thorns as a centerpiece for prayer.

2. Host a movie night. Watch “The Passion of the Christ” starring Jim Caviezel as Jesus.

3. With a group or family members, create “freeze-frame” Stations of the Cross. Form small groups and ask each to create a scene that illustrates a certain part of the Passion. Once groups are ready, have someone read the Passion narrative, allowing groups to do their freeze frame during the appropriate part of the story.

4. Have pretzels for dinner or snack and share the history of the symbolism of the pretzel as representing the Trinity.

5. Make a simple cross from two sticks gathered in the yard and tied with leather straps or twine and use for prayer.


1. Put religious items such as small books and gifts in the Easter basket, not just candy.

2. Read “The Legend of the Easter Egg” by Lori Walburg (Zondervan, 2011), which presents the egg as a symbol of new life and the resurrection.

3. Search online for activities, crafts and games that help children focus on the meaning of Easter.


CrownOfThornsBreadRecipe for unleavened bread

1/2 cup of white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/8 tsp salt
3/8 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3/8 cup warm water
2-3 tbsp honey

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Do not over stir.
Pat dough into a circle on a greased cookie sheet, about 3/8 inch thick, about 5 inches round.
Score top of loaf. (Cut lightly into eight sections, not all the way through.)
Bake about 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

Courtesy of Sue Fast, director of faith formation, St. Peter, Forest Lake

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Category: Holy Week/Easter