Holy Week At Home 2020


Holy Week 2020

Teachers, Catechists, Parents: we are all facing a Holy Week with many unknowns and with limited access to the parish liturgies. We have been encouraged to build up our Domestic Church and celebrate this coming week in a way that recalls the mystery of our Salvation. Every year, we need the graces of Holy Week, and this year we need it even more. So, to help you, we have put together a collection of activities and prayers, and some inspiration to start new traditions. Also, a list of additional websites resources are at the end of this page.* Don’t try to do too much. Pray about what would work for your family, or if you are a teacher ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. 

General Preparation

Watch this video on Holy Week to prepare for what this celebration might look like in your home. Here are the materials that go with the video. This past week, our Senior Director for Professional Development, Jose Gonzalez, hosted a virtual retreat called, Called to Hope, here is the full recording

For Teachers and Parents: Here are some Holy Week lessons to use:

Journey to Jerusalem: The Story of Holy Week




Liturgy of the Hours

During Holy Week, it might be time to increase the Liturgy of the Hours in your domestic Church. The Liturgy of the Hours or the Divine Office is the way that the universal Church meditates on the Liturgy of the Word, from daily Mass, throughout the day. There is an excellent book by Fr. Timothy Gallagher that explains what praying the Liturgy of the Hours might look like for the laity.  One of his suggestions is to use a modified version of the Morning and Evening prayer from the Magnificat. Magnificat has made their online resources free during the crisis, I have linked these resources for each day below.

Holy Week Devotions and Home Liturgies

Here is an idea on how to make Holy Week more prayerful in your homes beginning with  Palm Sunday. The goal is to refrain from using artificial light from the evening of Palm Sunday to the Easter Vigil, in order to foster more family time, prayer, and rest.  Luke Arrendondo and his wife Elena are using Facebook to spread this devotional practice

A few quick notes about liturgies in your domestic church or online classroom:

  1. Home liturgy is a real participation in the liturgical life of the Universal Church
  2. It’s ok if you don’t do everything
  3. It’s ok if it gets a little giggly (this is bound to happen). Just like any distraction, gently begin again. 
  4. Liturgical prayer is praying in community, not a substitute for personal quiet prayer, and you may need to recover later with some personal prayer
  5. Praising the Lord takes many forms, He is pleased with all of them.

Palm Sunday

Hold a family procession! Children love processions, and even if you are just processing around your yard, singing, it will be a fitting way to start your Palm Sunday home liturgy. Here is a modified home liturgy version. And here is a link to the Procession and the readings from Mass. And another with a guide for children

A lesson for younger children on the Sunday Gospel, and the student pages

A lesson for older children on the Sunday Gospel, and the student pages

A coloring page for the Palm Sunday

Holy Monday

Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer

The Gospel for Holy Monday is the story of Mary of Bethany anointing the feet of Jesus (John 12: 1-8). It is a beautiful story, and here is a Lectio Divina guide (PDF, DOC) to help your students engage in today’s Gospel.

And for younger children here is a coloring page 

Holy Tuesday

Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer

The Gospel for today is from the Last Supper (John 13: 21-33, 36-38). It focuses on how Jesus knows that one of the disciples is going to betray Him. Here is a Lectio Divina guide (PDF, DOC) to help your students engage in today’s Gospel.

Here is a coloring page for today's Gospel

Holy Wednesday (Spy Wednesday)

Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer

The Gospel is from Matthew. It recounts the story of Judas's conversation with the chief priests and his deception of Our Lord at the Last supper.  Here is a Lectio Divina guide (PDF, DOC) to help your students engage in today’s Gospel.

And here is a coloring page from this Gospel scene

Holy Thursday

Morning Prayer  and Evening Prayer

Holy Thursday is always a full packed day. It is a commemoration of the establishment of two sacraments, Holy Orders and the Holy Eucharist. See the lessons above about how to describe Holy Thursday. Here is another article on the Chrism Mass. The evening Mass is the beginning of the Triduum and a celebration of the institution of Eucharist, but this is also the night of the Agony of the Garden. Joy and sorrow are hallmarks of our existence on earth. 

Here are some small home traditions that might be worth thinking about:

Here is a coloring page of Christ Washing Peter’s Feet, and another one of the Garden of Gethsemane.

Good Friday

Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer

Tenebrae is a special Matins and Lauds combination for Good Friday morning and Holy Saturday. Here is a 7-minute video explanation. Here is a modified version from the Magnificat magazine (not the traditional 2 ½ hours) and here is another version brilliantly modified for families. 

During the day, between the hours of 12 pm-3 pm it is a good idea to schedule quiet time to commemorate Our Lord’s hours on the cross. When we were little this included the rosary, coloring pages, and sometimes a quiet walk. When our parents were solemn and quiet, we knew that something important was happening. For older children, the Stations of the Cross might be a better option. 

Holy Saturday

Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer

One priest suggested the other day that the past few weeks have been living out a Holy Saturday. He is so right!  Here is a poem for Holy Saturday, and a reading from the Office of Readings. This is a day for crafts, and maybe just a little more cleaning! Try to save a decoration that appears overnight.  One Easter we woke up to the living room covered with tissue paper butterflies and balloons covering the floor. It was a super tangible image that the Son of God had risen from the dead! So saving one decoration that is just for Easter morning will leave a lasting impression. 

The Easter Vigil traditionally starts before midnight and at midnight the Gloria is sung, and the Epistle and Gospel are read. Find all the bells and noisemakers for the children to ring at midnight during the Gloria. If you don’t want to stay up that late you could include a few of the liturgies before going to bed or first thing in the morning. 

And if you have older children, consider dancing until dawn! 

Easter Sunday

Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer


Readings from the Easter Vigil, there are seven Old Testament Readings, and the Epistle and Gospel

Readings from Easter Sunday, there is a special sequence for this Mass


A lesson for younger children on the Sunday Gospel, and the student pages.

A lesson for older children on the Sunday Gospel, and the student pages.

More coloring pages for the Resurrection:

In my family, we have a fire outside starting from 5 am and going all day. The feasting is more like grazing. Everyone enjoys eating Easter Bread and a spiral ham that we used for haphazard sandwiches. We have one big brunch together and it features ham, asparagus, salmon, Eggs Benedict, mimosas, strawberries, and strong coffee and tea. After that the schedule is open for egg hunts, indulging in the movies we had given up, walks or just spending time with each other. 

One variation of the egg hunt is this one. Your participants pair up, one team member is blindfolded and allowed to pick up the eggs, and the other can guide and direct them with verbal instructions. All other egg hunt rules apply! 


Here are a few inspirational articles for family time:


Other articles and resources to find additional crafts and traditions. 

Catholic Icing

Catholic All Year blog

Catholic Culture

Holy Heroes

Look to Him and Be Radiant 

The Diocese of Phoenix has made this liturgical ebook for families


*Please note that some of the links above will take you to external sites which may include ads or other content beyond the control of Sophia Institute for Teachers.