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Holy Week 2009

Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday and ends at the Easter Vigil mass.  For us, it is a week when we can immerse ourselves in the passion of Jesus, grow deeper in relationship with Christ and begin to heal ourselves through His resurrection.  Having been privileged to visit the Holy Land and actually see where these events would have occurred, this week is the highlight of my faith year.

Palm Sunday

Jesus enters Jerusalem with the greeting and splendour of a king.  People lay palms and cloaks on the road as Jesus rides a donkey through the gates of Jerusalem.  We attended mass and the kids enjoyed getting palms (folded into crosses) and olive branches.  they then proceeded to play ‘Palm Sunday’ during the week, waving palm branches and singing!

Holy Thursday

This is the beginning of the Easter Triduum – a three part liturgy- that takes place over Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter.  We had a Seder meal as a family.  This year we introduced a bit more structure into it.  We began with the reading from Exodus 12:1-20.  Then Eli asked the traditional Jewish Passover questions which explains why we eat the food presented.  We then ate dinner and Derek read the account of the last supper from Matthew 26:17-30.  We then broke bread and shared wine.  After dinner and dessert, we read about the washing of the feet and talked about the meaning of this action.  We then proceeded to wash each other’s feet (which was actually heaps of fun!).

We then got dressed in white (liturgical colours) and went to mass. For us this mass is quite a big celebration as it commemorates the first institution of the Eucharist and priesthood.  The priest washes the feet of twelve of the parishioners and then they in turn wash the hands/feet of the congregation.  It is a beautiful ritual and celebration of Christ’s actual mission for us, to become servants to others.  After mass is celebrated, the altar is stripped and Jesus (present in the blessed sacrament) is taken out of the church to an altar outside (called the altar of repose) where we are invited to pray with Him as the disciples did in the garden of Gethsemane.  Derek and I didn’t attend the prayer at the altar of repose this year, though it has been an incredible experience in previous years.

Good Friday

We woke up to Jordy throwing up and Zeek with diarrhoea- yay Gastro hit our family!  At first I was frustrated and annoyed.  I had planned for a very reflective day, fasting, Stations of the cross and then having ‘Jesus food’ (nuts, figs, grapes, cheese, dates, bread) for lunch before heading to Veneration of the cross (the Good Friday part of the Easter Triduum).  We were then going to have some homemade hot cross buns and complete Easter presents for the rest of the day… you can see why I got upset and frustrated!!!!  Well, I stayed home while Derek took Eli to Stations, then Derek, Eli and I had some lunch, then Eli and I went to Veneration.  We (well those who were participating in food – if you know what I mean!)had hot cross buns for dinner and then we went to bed.  It turned out to be a lovely day (except for the continual cleaning side of things!).  Derek and I both got to go to services with no little kids, so we actually got to focus on prayer rather than trying to juggle family members!  Eli and I sat right up the front of the church and I could answer all the questions that arose.  Oh yes, and the hot cross buns were delicious!

Easter Saturday Vigil Mass

I have to say, that if you ever get the chance to go to the Easter Vigil mass at New Norcia – then do it.  It is beautiful, perfect, the way that mass is meant to be celebrated.  It is so rich in symbolism and celebration.  It begins at 4am, in the dark .  It ends 2 1/2 hours later, in the new morning light.  A real experience of coming from darkness into a new Easter light.  This year we attended the vigil mass at our parish, which began at 7:30pm and ended at about 9pm.  Eli and Gubbs were both baptised at this mass (in different years of course) and it is always nice to reflect back to those times when our family was still small in size!  Jordy was still not 100%, though holding liquids successfully, so she slept through the mass.  She did wake up bright and cheery at the end when our priest mentioned easter eggs (and then ate hers when she got it!).  Zeek was quite freaked out by the whole easter egg thing.  The egg he got was cold and he kept touching it then turning and hiding from it!  By Easter Sunday, he knew what to do though!

Easter Sunday

The kids woke up early and did the traditional hunt for eggs.  They were most impressed by the footprints the bunny had left behind (we forgot one year and have paid for it since!).  We then had icecream for breakfast which has become a family tradition over the last few years.  This year, though because of the gastro, we had pancakes as well!!  Derek then took the older boys to the park for lunch with his family and then we had dinner with my family.  I got to stay at home with two sleepy children and enjoy a very peaceful day!

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