If you've been following us lately, you know we have been giving a few tips on how to prepare for these the holiest days of the year, especially given that most of us are deprived of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and other public Triduum commemorations. Today, I just want to give you a checklist of a some things you can do today to make sure you're prepared to celebrate tomorrow from home.
1. Plan ahead for a break in work for Good Friday.
Good Friday should include a break in work, activity, entertainment, and socialization, at least from the hours of noon to three, when Our Lord was on the Cross. Under this year's unique circumstances, this might actually be easier to do than ever (go here for more on that). For our family, we are going to try to have those three hours subsist in silence and in prayer. That is going to take some preparation—what do you need to do today to make sure you can afford those three hours without work tomorrow? An extra load of laundry? A few extra hours of work? What will you do during those three hours? What will your children do?
2. Gather your materials for your Good Friday devotions.
Tomorrow's three hours will go smoothly if you know what you will do during them and have the materials ready to go. For us, we are going to do the following:
Pater will read the account of the Passion according to St. John.
We will pray the Stations of the Cross.
We will listen to the Improperia (chanted in Latin) while venerating the Cross (resources and more details here).
We will pray the Improperia (recited in English).
If there is still time, we will listen to a reflection on the Seven Last Words.
Once you've decided what you will do, gather all of the materials together. Where will you read from? Will you need to print sheets off for the whole family? If you have small children, what will they do?
3. Set up the Stations of the Cross.
This year, we will all be praying the Stations at our home, which will require some set up. What we did last year was print out pictures of each station (they are not hard to find on the internet) and hang them on the walls with painter's tape. If you have children, you could have them draw or color the pictures as an activity today or tomorrow morning. You will also need a book to pray the Stations—your missal will have one version. Make sure everyone has their own copy to read if you think that would help with prayer and attention. This is perhaps a separate post, but we went ahead and hung permanent Stations of the Cross in our home. It takes a little creativity (it's hard to find Stations to purchase for homes, and even then they don't come quite ready to hang), but it was great having that this year to do on Fridays. Plus, it's a great way to get religious art in your home. If you'd like a post on how we did ours, let us know on the comments.
4. Plan your Passion Play.
It's tradition for some reenactment of the Passion to take place on Good Friday. If you have a large enough family, consider putting on a Passion play. You will need to plan scripts, parts, and costumes today. If this is not an option, most people have access to the movie, The Passion of the Christ. If you will watch that tomorrow, make sure everything is set up today.
5. Plan for others ways to make this a day of mourning.
Overall, the day should have a somber air. How will you create that in your home? How will you impart that to your children? Will you do prayers or readings? Will you put an image of the Passion or the Sorrowful Mother in the center of your table? Will you all wear black? Will you listen to a Tenebrae service? Go ahead and think through that now.
We'd love to hear from you—what is your family doing tomorrow? What are you doing today to prepare for it?