Good Friday for the Family

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Good Friday is one of those days that does not get the recognition it should.  Probably because we enjoy the joyous occasions more than the suffering.  But what would spring be without winter?  What is the joy of the Resurrection on Easter without the sorrowful Crucifixion on Good Friday?  

The last few years, as I have grown in my understanding and appreciation of my Catholic faith, I have developed a love of this day.  

good friday quotes Happy Good Friday 2014 – Quotes, Images and Wallpapers Etc.
Happy Festives
To be quite frank, my family and most in our country are spoiled.  We don't know real hunger.  We don't know what it's like to live in constant fear or danger.  We don't go without the things we need, let alone many of the things we simply want.  This is a true blessing that is often taken for granted.  

On Good Friday, I am reminded of real suffering and sacrifice.  Fasting, abstaining from meat, and reflecting on Jesus' death on this day are ways that I can give up some of the comforts in my life to grow closer to God.

There is some great information about Good Friday here.  The following are ideas for having a reverent Good Friday with your family.

1.  Learn about Jesus' death.

Obviously the story of Jesus' death is a disturbing one, and it should be carefully considered what and how to share it with kids.  Grace (almost 5) knows pretty much all the details from the scouring at the pillar to the Crucifixion.  She has heard the story right from the bible, and she has seen a couple animated shows depicting the events.  I am careful that what I share with her is age-appropriate and isn't too graphic or scary.  However, some books seem to gloss over it a little too much, and I think that it's important for kids to understand the pain and sacrifice that Jesus went through for us.

One of the better videos I've seen is a short animated film called The Witness, which tells the story of Jesus' arrest, death, and Resurrection from the perspective of Barabbas (the murderer released instead of Jesus).  

But if it's already Good Friday, here is a good video and you don't have it, here is a better option.  It doesn't go through Jesus' arrest, scourging, or crowning of thorns, but it gives a good overview of Jesus carrying the cross and His death.

Good Friday Coloring Pages
Good Friday Coloring Pages
9 Coloring Pages

Coloring pages, like these can also help kids better understand the events of the Lord's Passion.

2.  Pray the Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross are depictions of Christ's journey carrying the cross to His Crucifixion.  Like me, you may have seen them along the walls at church and not known exactly what they were for (oops!).  

Most Catholic churches set aside time during Lent to pray the Stations of the Cross, especially on Good Friday.  Here are some resources for praying the Stations of the Cross with your family:

Printable Stations of the Cross Book

little stations of the cross booklet
Printable Stations of the Cross Booklet
Catholic Playground

And here is a simple video Stations of the Cross, perfect for kids.

3.  Celebrate the Lord's Passion at church.

Interestingly enough, I just learned that the Celebration of the Lord's Passion service on Good Friday is technically not a mass.  It is unique in that the Eucharist is not celebrated (although Hosts consecrated on Holy Thursday are received), and it has a very solemn overtone, as Jesus' death is mourned.  The service begins and ends in silence, and also includes the Veneration of the Cross.  These are important details that I'll be sure to explain to Grace beforehand, so that she will understand what's happening and be more engaged.

4.  Focus on the cross.

Good Friday is a great time to focus on making the sign of the cross with young children.  Ada and Lucas (both 2) are starting to try to do it on their own.  Which is super cute.  Here's a very short little video from the Brother Francis series:

There are also some simple crucifix crafts that can be used as decorations throughout the year. 

Easter Cross Decoration
Easy Foil Cross Craft
Mumma Made It

And Allison at Learn Play Imagine made my life easier by compiling a bunch of other cross crafts:
10 beautiful cross crafts for kids
10 Cross Crafts for Kids
Learn Play Imagine

4.  Eat special foods.

Good Friday is a day of fasting and abstinence from meat for adults.  But there are also some special foods that could be eaten on this day.  

Hot Cross Buns are a European tradition, supposedly started by monks who gave them to the poor.  They have a cross on them to remind us of Jesus' Crucifixion.  There are plenty of more complicated recipes, but I'm going with this one from Pillsbury!  Because that's how I roll.

Crescent Hot Cross Buns
Crescent Hot Cross Buns

I also like this idea for a symbolic lunch or snack from Catholic Icing.  It would be great to read the gospel reading for Good Friday as you explain each item.

A scripture lunch that tells the story of the Passion of the Lord. Perfect for Good Friday!
Easter Story Lunch
Catholic Icing

 I hope that you and your family have a blessed Good Friday!