By the liturgists’ count, it’s the thirty-ninth day of Lent. Sundown tomorrow, we arrive at the end next waystation of the spiritual journey, the Last Supper.
I may post at most once a day the next few days. RCIA returns early next week. Personally, I do better cutting back on the internet this week. And no offense intended, I do better not reading some sites.
I have a few suggestions for you family-oriented Catholics out there in the readership. Take what seems good and leave the rest, as you see fit.
My main suggestion is to bring your children to the Triduum liturgies. All of them. (My second suggestion is to encourage a nap tomorrow and Saturday especially.) Odds are your parish is never better at liturgy these three days, and if you feel the need to plant a seed of adult Massgoing, this is the week to plant.
If your parish has open footwashing on Holy Thursday, bring your child and wash feet as a family. Remember the Mandatum is a charge to all believers, even if the rite suggests “viri selecti.” We should approach the basin with that commitment in mind.
Certainly take time for adoration after the procession. If you live in a city, a pilgrimage to other churches is a nice experience for youngsters.
Good Friday is also a good day to attend–maybe Stations and the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion both. I was never fussy with the young miss about dozing off during John’s Gospel. My sense is that if the child needs a nap, there are worse places than church.
I had a call from a parishioner concerned about her children, ages 11 and 15, and the Easter Vigil. When the young miss was eleven (and even today in the teen years) I encouraged a nap on Holy Saturday. But I think a child of any age can benefit from the Easter Vigil. At minimum, very young children will enjoy the Easter fire and Liturgy of Light. If that’s all they can handle, just go home before the readings start. Then come back for the full Mass the next morning. It is perfectly acceptable to visit your church more than once on a weekend. Triduum is hardly a one-stop (spiritual) shopping event.
Another strategy is to stay through the Exodus reading. That will be the highlight of our Liturgy of the Word, as we’re chanting it with acclamations from the assembly. I used to make “little horses” with my two hands for the young miss, and when we sung ” horse and chariot are cast into the sea,” my hands would flip and my fingers would wiggle as they “sunk into the sea.”
And if your child makes it to the baptism of adults, then you might as well stay for the end.
Let’s be serious: what kid doesn’t like to stay up really, really late?
The year before I was baptized (1970), my sister and I attended the whole Triduum. I would still place that experience in my top five Triduums. Plant the memories and traditions before your offspring have any chance to become Easter Catholics.