This is the third article in a new series on "How to Celebrate Holy Week at Home."
On Good Friday we contemplate—and enter deeply into—the suffering and crucifixion of Our Lord. Like the Apostles, we mourn the death of Jesus.
This is the only day of the year when Mass is not offered by any priest, anywhere.
And this year, we acutely feel the “loss” of our Jesus. Now we know what it is like to not have Him readily available to us in the Most Holy Eucharist. Like the disciples, we are shut up in our home, uncertain about what will happen next. For the first time in our lives, the usual liturgies and traditions of Good Friday (such as the Veneration of the Cross) will not be available to Catholics except through livestream.
Our participation will not be the same.
However, with a little preparation, we can set Good Friday apart from all other days and truly enter into the Mystery of our Salvation. We can take the haunting beauty and gravity of the Good Friday liturgy and introduce it into our own homes.
How? Here are five tips.
5 Tips for Commemorating Good Friday
1. Eliminate all secular and unnecessary noise.
Turn off all music, movies, podcasts, the radio, and TV for the day. Put away your phone and stay off social media. Try to plan your week so that you don’t have to do any shopping on Good Friday.
By eliminating distraction, we can more easily meditate on the passion of Jesus as we go about our day, care for our families, and complete household duties.
All this might sound really hard—and it does take a firm decision of the will—but it is important to honor the holiness of this day. You can absolutely do this! God will give you the grace!
2. Observe silence during the hours Jesus hung on the cross.
Jesus was on the cross between the hours of noon and three in the afternoon. That’s usually when our parishes hold their Good Friday services—and of course and many churches are livestreaming the Good Friday liturgy this year.
As a mother of small children, it has been several years since I have attended. Instead, we have found other ways to observe this time. For example, we try to be as silent as possible during these hours—even the children try to do silent activities. Everyone goes about their work, but we keep talking to a minimum. This allows time for reflection.
This varies based on age, of course—a toddler can’t be silent, but even six-year-olds are able to understand why we’re being quiet when it’s explained to them! Let them color, or look at books, etc.
During this time, you can also do the Stations of the Cross and pray in front of a crucifix.
3. Use visuals.
It's really helpful to create a special prayer corner, or holy space. There you can contemplate images of the suffering Savior.
Read Further: How to Create a Home Prayer Corner in 4 Easy Steps
And for the younger ones? Every year my children build a tiny tomb out of rocks or bricks in our garden. After three o’clock, they place a stone in front of their little rock cave.
When they wake up on Easter morning the rock has been removed, and little flowers or Easter treats are found in its place. Do you live alone? There’s no reason why you can’t do the same! Visuals help all of us, young and old.
Another tradition in our family is to “plant” a Good Friday tree. The kids find some sticks and prop them up on Good Friday. On Easter Sunday there are ribbons and flowers and candy tied to the sticks to make an Easter tree!
This year, my children are using twine and sticks to make fourteen little crosses. We are going to place them around the yard and pray the stations (weather permitting) outside.
4. Keep a vigil with Our Lady.
Take this time to be with Our Lady in her sorrow.
5. Begin the Divine Mercy Novena.
This chaplet can (and should) be prayed frequently and at any time, but Good Friday marks the “official” start of the Divine Mercy Novena. Catholics around the world pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet according to the instructions given to St. Faustina by Jesus Himself.
You can find guides, resources, and supplies for the Chaplet by clicking here.
This is a powerful novena that has profound graces and promises attached to it, through Jesus’ mercy.
We hope you find these suggestions for Good Friday Helpful. If you end up trying any of these ideas, let us know!
Are you honoring the Sacred Triduum alone, or with your family? What are your plans for honoring these holy days?
What are you missing most about participating in Holy Week at your parish?
What ideas would you like to share with other readers? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!