How do I help my children celebrate Easter, despite the pandemic? We probably won’t be able to go to Mass or visit family. How do I talk to them about this and how can I still make this special for them? — Green Bay
I am so glad you asked this question. So many families are wondering the same thing: how not to lose the beautiful celebrations of Holy Week and Easter amidst the realities of our current circumstances. Simple creativity and joy can be your best tools during this Easter celebration. And, no matter how you approach it, without a doubt this Easter will be memorable.
We have all had to scale back from the busy lives we are used to, and so many have reported that they are enjoying the simplicity of family time during this pandemic. Holy Week and Easter should also reflect some of these sweet and simple family moments.
- For instance, if your children loved getting the palms at church on Palm Sunday – and now palms will not be distributed at this time — you can easily make “palms” at home as a craft.
- On Holy Thursday, you can change your dinner meal into something that resembles the Seder meal or the Passover meal Jesus would have eaten at the Last Supper.
- On Good Friday, be resolved to turn off all distractions from noon to 3 p.m. in honor of our Lord’s Passion. This would be a great time to also gather and pray for those who need our prayers during this pandemic.
- You can also watch liturgical celebrations of the Lord’s Passion on TV or with other social media such as YouTube or Facebook. Watch a service here in our diocese, or travel “virtually” somewhere new and watch the service at a different church. Parishes, and the diocese, will be offering the entire Triduum (from the Mass of the Lord’s Supper through the Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord.)
Finally, keep your family Easter traditions, baskets, egg hunts and such, and be creative with them as well. Personally, I am adding some extra craft supplies in the Easter baskets this year to keep the kids busy in these quarantined days still to come. We will have lots of ideas for Holy Week at home on the main COVID-19 page at the Diocese of Green Bay: gbdioc.org/covid19. You can also see the links on these resource pages to virtual Mass celebrations.
Use these simple creative times with your family to add more joy to the celebrations of Holy Week and Easter. Depending on the age of your children, they may not be fully aware of the extent of what is happening. However, what will be memorable is the time that was spent together as a family. Consider family meet-ups with others, using one of the many web meeting programs, if you can’t get together in person. Take a walk together, or go for a short drive as a family during the time you would have spent visiting with other relatives — if you feel it is safe to do so.
Making the most of these moments will surely cement memories in your family scrapbooks of an Easter well spent. Jesus reminds us that he is the Resurrection and the life, because it is the hope and joy of the Resurrection that makes sense out of suffering. May you and your families be truly blessed this Easter.
Tremblay is Marriage and Life Ministries director for the Diocese of Green Bay.