When it comes to a celebration, the details are what help make it a success. We recently talked about what to serve at a Last Supper meal on Holy Thursday as part of our Triduum activities, so now we’re going to look at a way to add both decoration *and* education to your dinner.
Note: Activities will be added each week. Be sure to check out the Saints section for additional activities and information on some of our amazing sisters and brothers. If you want ideas for Pentecost, see the Ordinary Time section!
ACTIVITIES (click HERE for Lent ideas!)
A great way to recognize our Catholic heritage is to celebrate Jesus and *his* heritage – being Jewish. On Holy Thursday, recreate (as close as we can) the Last Supper meal – or Seder for Passover – that Jesus and his disciples shared. While none of us were there, and there’s not a perfect menu for us to refer to, there are some items we can take straight from scripture – such as the unleavened bread and wine – and others from a historic record. Below is a sample menu of foods that Jesus and his disciples may have been dining on during the last supper. This Holy Thursday, invite your friends and family over and celebrate your own Last Supper! (we even have a great project you can do and use it as part of the decoration / celebration)
Preparing a Last Supper Meal
- This week, write out your guest list. Determine how many friends or family you would like to invite, and send your invitations out. Be mindful of mass times at your parish, ensuring your dinner starts after the Holy Thursday mass ends.
- Determine your menu (see below for ideas), and assign something for each guest to bring. Share the *why* behind each dish…as in why it’s being included in your dinner. It’s probably best for you to make the main course and have guests bring some of the side dishes and beverages. Unless you’re a bad chef. Like me. Then definitely assign the main course to someone else.
- Prepare your home! On the day of the dinner, bring out the china and prepare a beautiful celebratory table. Create a beautiful antiqued menu for all to see. This would be in keeping with how the Seder was celebrated.
- unleavened bread: scriptural, was at the Last Supper meal and became part of our Holy Communion. You can pick up Matzo at most stores.
- olive oil: scriptural, was promised in Deuteronomy 8:8
- honey: scriptural, was promised in Deuteronomy 8:8
- figs: scriptural, was promised in Deuteronomy 8:8
- olives: scriptural, was promised in Deuteronomy 8:8
- wheat & barley: scriptural, was promised in Deuteronomy 8:8. I’d recommend a barley & wheat salad…always a great side dish. While not all the ingredients may have been at the last supper, the salad sounds delish!
- bitter herbs: these are traditionally served at a Seder representing the bitterness of slavery that the Israelites went through. As Jesus was a Jew, these would likely have been served. Bitter herbs include horseradish and spring radishes.
- lamb (you can choose the cut): there is much debate as to whether there was a lamb at the Last Supper. If the Apostles were preparing for Passover, this would have included sacrificing and preparing a Passover Lamb (Exodus 12:21). However, historians disagree on the day that the meal was celebrated (was it two nights before? one night before). Most recently, Pope Benedict announced in 2007 that Jesus ate dinner sans lamb as Jesus himself became the sacrificial lamb the very next day. So…it’s up to you! You may want to make a butter lamb instead of a meat one – it’s another great way to dress up your table, and you can use it again for Easter.
- red wine: scriptural, was at the Last Supper meal and became part of our Holy Communion
- pomegranate juice: pomegranates are scriptural, as was promised in Deuteronomy 8:8. Due to the season, these likely weren’t at the table but they’re included here as they are quoted in scripture *and* they make a great beverage for anyone not drinking red wine. You can find pomegranate juice at most grocery stores.
- haroses: a sweet dessert made of apples, cinnamon, and sweet wine traditionally served at Passover. When mixed together, it looks similar to and represents the mortar that the Jews used in servitude while locked in slavery.
Just for fun, this post links up at these great Catholic and quilting sites!
|Confession Photo: Shavy|
Going to confession…three words that can strike up such fear and apprehension. We go to church, go to fish fries, go to Holy Days, do our best during Lent, but how often do we go to confession? What is it about going to confession that strikes up those feelings – is it the personal interaction with our pastor? Is it reluctance to examine our own conscience? Or is it the challenge of having to admit – out loud, to another – that we have done something wrong…or maybe not quite right?
Regardless of the reason, the rate at which we all go to confession is pretty low. America Magazine reported in 2007 that only 12% of Catholics go to confession more than once per year. Ouch. Is this because we have become numb to the sins going on around us and see it as “normal”? Or do we really believe we, ourselves, have not sinned?
Confession is truly one of the beautiful gifts we can receive as Catholics. Just as Jesus gave his apostles the ability to forgive sins (John 20:23, Matthew 16:19), we, too, can receive this forgiveness from Jesus through our priests today.
If it’s been a while since you’ve been, don’t worry. Below is a guide for what you can expect – or, you can download the app! (Just remember…you need to see a priest to get absolution.)
- BEFORE CONFESSION
- Take time to really examine your own conscience. Find a quiet place where you can spend honest quality time looking at your actions. There are many great guides, like this one, available to assist.
- Write down what you want to say. Sometimes, writing it out can help during the one-on-one with the priest…especially if it’s been a while since you’ve been to Confession.
- Depending on the setup at your church, you may find yourself face-to-face with a priest or behind a screen.
- Upon sitting/kneeling down, begin with the sign of the cross: “In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It has been … since my last confession.”
- The priest may read a scripture, or indicate for you to continue.
- Begin your confession. If you’ve written down some thoughts during your earlier meditation, don’t be ashamed to bring it out and read. Start with the mortal sins…those that are the most grave and serious.
- Once you’re done, apologize to God. Tell him, “I’m sorry for all my sins.”
- The priest will give you a penance. (A penance is given to lessen the temporal punishment of sins that are forgiven.)
- Say the Act of Contrition. Don’t worry if you don’t know it! There are many versions you can print out before going, or there may be a sample prayer card at the time of your confession you can use. What matters is that you pray, asking God for forgiveness for what you’ve done.
- Receive absolution from the priest, who gives this gift through Christ. Such a gift!
- Make the Sign of the Cross, and gather your things to leave.
- Do your assigned penance.
- Thank God for forgiving you (if only we all forgave the way God does!) and know that you are forgiven. There is nothing you need to do to “accept” God’s forgiveness and regain His love…it is unconditional.
- Make a promise with yourself to not do what you confessed again. This is so important! Think thoroughly on this…figure out what you need to do to make sure you’re not in the same position again.
One of the beautiful traditions our parish has is to come together each Friday of Lent for a (baked) fish fry and then go into the church to pray the Stations of the Cross together. For this week’s Lent activity, test your knowledge of the Stations – and Jesus’s path down Via Dolorosa – with some trivia cards. Twenty cards, to be exact.
This is a super easy project – mainly because all you have to do is print out the cards and play 🙂 How’s that for next-to-no prep time? After last week’s made-from-scratch magnets, I owe it to you to have an easy one. I’ve also given you two options in making this, so pick the one that works best for you.
WHAT YOU NEED:
HOW TO MAKE:
- OPTION 1: Buy a blank pack of business card paper from an office supply store for printing and print single sided after downloading the template. The cards will print out on the standard 10-card sheets available at Staples (Avery template 8371). Once printed, tear along the perforations (Figure A), glue (Figure B), fold (Figure C), and play!
- OPTION 2: After downloading, print them out on standard paper (single sided) and cut them out (Figure A), glue (Figure B), fold (Figure C), and play!
You can make a family game and education session out of this activity. Play as a family on teams, and see which team can get the most correct. Incorporate education by not only sharing the knowledge you have, but sharing the information on the card and reading – where applicable – the Bible verses related to that station.
I’d love to hear any other trivia questions you have related to this activity. I’m always looking for more questions for the cards!
The two projects we’ve done so far (magnets and trivia cards) this Lenten season related to the Stations of the Cross have been great. I’ve learned a ton in creating both, but there was one thing that has really weighed heavily on my mind.
With the Stations of the Cross so top of mind, I keep coming back to Jesus seeing his mother. I can not even imagine what that must have been like. Let me say that again: I *can not* even imagine what that must have been like. To be the mother of a child, and to see your child bruised, bloodied, torn, carrying the cross upon which they were about to be nailed to, then seeing them nailed to the cross and left to die…I cry in just even thinking about it.
Mary. What an amazingly STRONG woman. To go through what she went through from the very start – from Jesus’s conception – leading up to this day takes an amazing amount of inner strength. God was with her from the very beginning, and he never left her side. Even with Him by her side, it must have been unimaginable to have to witness Jesus walking through the crowd, towards the mount and seeing him HANGING on the cross. Simeon almost gave her the warning in Luke 2:34-35 when he said, “…he is destined for the fall…a sword will pierce your own soul too.”. I think back to our son’s Baptism and can’t fathom being Mary when she received this news…with the sweet, tiny face of a newborn staring back. Jesus was a baby. Her baby. Imagine living your whole life as a mother of a child – a child so, so special – and knowing that his death was to brutally proceed yours “like a lamb lead to slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7).
So much emotion is passed in a glance. I wonder what that glance between Jesus and his mother was like when they met for the last time. Was it a look of sorrow knowing it was the last time they’d meet on Earth, a look of mutual anguish as each shared some of the others pain, a look of resignation as they both had known this day would come? So much can be said just with a look. One emotion we know that was there was love. Pure, beautiful love between a mother and her child. She tucked away her fear as the angel had instructed her (Luke 1:30) and stayed with Jesus, by his side, through it all.
Follow-Up: a reader sent me this link, and I want to share it with you. Be prepared to have a box of tissues by your side! It is a beautifully written prayerful devotion of each station, written by Mary about her son.
I know, I know…it’s barely been the First Sunday of Lent and I already have a project for the Second Sunday of Lent. I was just too excited about this to not share!!! So, consider this a bonus in that you now have an entire week to pick up the supplies. I promise, there aren’t many. So, without further adieu, I bring you Stations of the Cross for kids magnets!
These magnets are a great teaching tool. They are very easy to make, and have the added benefit of a) providing you an opportunity to teach each station as you make the magnet for that specific station and b) can be played with / reordered / sorted on the fridge as a teaching tool not only during Lent but year-round should you chose to leave them up. As these print small, the second page of the downloadable template is a list of all stations in a font you can keep for reference.
I searched quite a while for the right pattern for the magnets – and found amazing hand-drawn stations by Melissa, over at St. Brigid’s Academy. She’s so talented!
- Stations of the Cross Magnets (14 stations)
- colored pencils or sharp crayons (markers will bleed when glue is applied)
- 14 large 1.5″-2″ glass “jewels”
- clear tacky glue
- strong magnets
- glue gun
- Color and cut out the 14 circles representing each of the 14 stations (see Figure A)
- Squirt glue directly onto the picture you just colored (the top) part of each paper circle, one at a time (see Figure B)
- Place the glass jewel/marble on top of the photo and lightly press down to get out the air and ensure the glue flows to the edges of the paper circle (see Figure C)
- Repeat 13 times, and let dry
- Glue the magnet on the back of each piece of paper
- Let your magnets dry for a few hours or overnight
- 4 cups of flour (any kind)
- 1 cup of salt
- warm water (or, coffee) to moisten dough
HOW TO MAKE
- Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl
- Add enough water/coffee to make the dough tacky as shown in the photo below
- Mold the clay into three strands of dough
- Braid the dough
- Bake in the oven at 350-degrees for 35-35min (or until hard and dry)
- Remove from oven, allow to cool
- Place “thorns” (toothpicks) in crown
- Place crown in a central location in your home