It is Lent, once again. The Church gives us these different time periods, for a specific reason. Lent is a time, when we journey with Jesus to the cross, his passion and death. Afterwards we celebrate the biggest feast for us Christians: Easter. Jesus rose victorious over death. Easter time starts and it leads us to Pentecost, when we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit.
We will need:
(if the children are not going to colour the images, you may print the images in colour)
Easter and following weeks
During the weeks of Lent and Easter, the children will be having an explanation of the symbols and objects they see during these special times. Symbols help us to understand better the significance of and the message of this important time.
The children will have 2 symbols explained each week. They will cut out these symbols and colour them. Before Lent starts, help the children to have the clothes hanger ready. This will be used as a mobile with the symbols and objects hanging from it (an example).
Start by printing, What will we see during Lent and Easter? The children may colour it. Make a hole at the top (in the middle) from where you insert the clothes hanger.
At Pentecost, the children would have 29 symbols. These will be added gradually. Hang 6 ribbons from the clothes hanger, long enough to hold all the symbols.
Apart from the explanation of each symbol, there will be an activity for the children or something to watch. Every time, the children will write or draw something on the heart shape (🕆) make more sacrifices (✂)and be more charitable (❤️). There will also, be suggestions of how the children can do this. Easter time, is a time of happiness and joy, so the children will be given suggestions on how to make others happy (🙂).
If you wish to include a game, during Lent, hide the symbol, and mark the place with the small cross. Let the children find the symbol. From Easter to Pentecost, use an Easter egg instead of the cross. You may use the same Easter egg, however, if the children are allowed to eat it at Easter, then you will need 15 Easter eggs.
Prior to Ash Wednesday, prepare a container to hold the cross, sand, candles and pebbles.
The Number 40
Find this year’s calendar. We start Lent today, it’s the 22nd of February. We will celebrate Easter on the 9th of April. Count how many days will pass from today, up to Easter?
How many days did you count? (47)
How come we say that Lent is 40 days long, when you just counted 47 days?
Sunday is a special day. Every Sunday we celebrate and remember when Jesus rose from the dead! So, we do not count the Sundays of Lent.
There are several stories in the Bible, where the number 40 is mentioned. For example, Noah and his family, spent 40 days together with the animals on the ark; Moses and his friends spent 40 years in the desert; David was king for 40 years, and so was his son Solomon. Before Jesus started teaching the people, he spent 40 days praying in the desert, and after rising from the dead, he spent 40 days, meeting with his friends, before going to heaven.
Put the cross in the middle of the container which you have prepared. Put 3 violet candles on one side, and the rest on the other side, with the pink candle in the middle. These candles represent the Sundays of Lent.
Cut out the number 40 and colour it (download from here). When you are ready, hang this first symbol on one of the strings, hanging down from the clothes hanger. Hang the clothes hanger in the dinning room, where you meet as a family.
On one of the hearts, draw 40 kisses for Jesus, so that you show him how much you love him. You may use colours or glitter. Put this heart in a box, so that when you have enough, you may make a flower.
Read the story of Noah, from your bible, or else you may watch it here.
✂ do not eat sweets today.
Dear Jesus, we have started Lent. During the coming days, we want to learn more about your love for us. Amen.
Desert and Stones
In today’s Gospel, we will hear about the time Jesus spent 40 days in the desert.
Why did Jesus go to the desert?
There’s nothing in a desert, apart from sand and stones. Jesus went there to be quiet. He prayed and prepared himself to teach the people about God and tell them how to live and be happy.
At the end of the 40 days, Jesus was tempted to do bad choices, however he did not. Jesus got the strength not to do bad, from praying.
In the container where you have the cross and the candles, add the sand and 4 pebbles. These 4 pebbles are the 4 days of Lent which have already passed. Every day remember to add another one, but do not add any pebbles on Sunday. Before praying, light all the six candles.
Prayer was very important for Jesus. He went to the desert so that no one disturbed him. Today, when you go to church, or you are at home, stay quiet for a time, close your eyes so that nothing disturbs you, and speak with Jesus in your heart.
In your Bible, find the story of when Jesus was in the desert and ready it. You may watch it here.
Cut out the picture of the desert and stones and colour them (download from here). Hang this with your other picture. Now you have two pictures hanging from your mobile!
On a heart (the same colour as the one where you drew the kisses) write: Jesus, I am sorry for doing what is wrong. Keep this with your other one.
🕆 whenever you remember, say in your heart, “Jesus I love you and adore you.”
Light the six candles and make the sign of the cross. Afterwards, put out one of the violet candles. During Advent we used to light a candle each week; during Lent, we will put out one candle each week until we come to the feast of Good Friday, when Jesus died.
Dear Jesus, teach me so that I will be like you, I will make good choices. Amen.
Do you know why ashes were put on our forehead, on the first day of Lent?
First of all, do you know how these ashes were made? Last year we celebrated Palm Sunday. Some of the palms were reserved, now they were burnt and turned into ashes. These ashes were put on our heads on Ash Wednesday!
When the priest put ashes on our heads, he said, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return,” or else, “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” In the first book of the Bible, we read how God created man from the dust, and then God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. When we do what is wrong, we will be moving away from God. Therefore, the words of the priest and the ashes, help us remember how important God is to us. God created us and God helps us to live in a good way, by giving us the Gospel. To repent means that we are sorry for what we did wrong, and that we will try not to repeat this wrong again.
Draw a picture of something wrong which you did today, or recently, for example you fought with your brothers or sisters or at school, or you did not obey your parents, you were angry and broke something, or you hurt your pet.
Cut out the picture of the ashes and colour it. Hang it on your mobile. (download from here).
On the heart (same colour as previously) write: The Gospel.
Are you remembering to add a pebble each day? Today, you put the 7th one!
✂ today, do not play with your computer or tablet, instead watch, or read a story from the Bible.
Dear Jesus, teach me to become like you and make good choices. Ammen.
With your parents’ help, put the picture that you drew (the one with the bad choice) and burn it so that it becomes ashes. Tell Jesus that you are sorry for doing this bad thing.
The bread and wine
What do the bread and wine remind you of?
Eating? The offerings during mass?
Both answers are correct! When Jesus gave us the Eucharist as gift, he wanted it to resemble a meal. We enjoy eating with our family and friends, we enjoy being together. This is how Jesus wants mass to be; he wants his friends to meet and eat together. During mass we have very special food, it is Jesus himself! When Jesus chose the bread, he wanted to show that this gift was for everyone. Bread is one of the cheapest foods one can buy, nearly everyone can afford to buy it, not like a fillet of beet, which is very expensive. Jesus wants everyone to eat from his food. When your parents take some wine, it shows that it is a special meal. Mass is special, because we meet Jesus and our friends.
Do you know when Jesus gave us this special and great gift of the Eucharist? (during the Last Supper) Read about it, in your Bible or else watch this clip.
Cut out the picture of the bread and wine and colour it. Hang it with the other pictures. (download from here).
On a heart (same colour as before), write: Jesus gives us a special gift, the Eucharist.
✂ Help your parents with the preparation of the food.
Light five candles and make the sign of the cross. Afterwards put out one of the violet candles.
Thank you, Jesus for the special gift of the Eucharist. Amen.
What is a pretzel?
Pretzels are a type of bread which are baked during Lent. They started to be made many years ago. At that time, during Lent, no one took any milk, eggs or fat. Pretzels have none of these ingredients.
The pretzel is shaped in the form of arms folded in prayer (in olden times, this is how people prayed, they folded their arms on their shoulders). Pretzel, is from a German word, meaning “little arms.”
Watch this story about pretzels.
With your parents’ help, today, make some pretzels.
You will need:
Cut the picture of the pretzel and colour it. Add this to the other pictures on your hanging mobile. (download from here).
On a green heart, draw a pretzel.
Now you have enough hearts to form a flower. You may follow the instructions here, to make your flower.
Bake more pretzels and tomorrow share them with your friends at school. Do not forget to tell them why you made them. Do not forget to give a pretzel to those children who do not have many friends and are usually on their own.
Light four candles and make the sign of the cross. Afterwards put out one of the violet candles.
Dear Jesus, whilst eating these pretzels which we made, we remember that we are to spend more time talking with you in prayer, we also remember that we are to pray for others and share what we have. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
During Lent we make sacrifices. Sacrifices are like not eating sweets, or not playing a favourite game, or not watching a film you like. It is not easy, and we do not enjoy making sacrifices. Jesus does not want us to be sad. However, he knows that when we make sacrifices, we become better people. For example, if I can say no to sweets, when I am tempted to do a bad choice, I will be strong enough to say no!
What do fish have to do with all of this?
Have you ever heard your parents or grandparents say, “today we do not eat meat.” During Lent, the adults, do not eat meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Many years ago, people rarely ate meat. They had meat for special occasions. Fish was eaten more often. This does not mean that when we eat fish during Lent we should overeat or eat very expensive fish. When we make a sacrifice we eat moderately, we eat what is prepared for us, even if this is not our favourite food.
Read from your Bible, the story when the apostles caught many fish, or you may watch it here.
Cut the picture of the fish and colour it. Hang it with your other pictures. (download from here).
On a heart (not green) draw an ichthus. Do you know what this is? Ask your parents to help you look it up. The first Christians used to draw the shape of a fish, as a secret message, to show that they were Christians!
Are you adding a pebble each day? Today you add the 19th one!
✂ As a sacrifice, eat whatever is prepared for you, even if you do not like it. Remember to pray for those children who have nothing to eat.
Dear Jesus, today I want to pray for those poor children who have nothing to eat. I pray that other countries help them, so they do not continue being poor. Amen.
Have you ever seen the initials I.N.R.I. written somewhere? Where were they written?
We see these initials written on Jesus’ cross. These are the first letters of the Latin phrase meaning, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.
However, Jesus is not just the King of the Jews. Jesus is everyone’s king. Jesus is our King.
Watch, Christ the King and speak with your parents about what you have learnt.
Cut our the cross with the initials I.N.R.I. and colour it. Hang it on your picture mobile. (download from here).
On a heart (same colour as the one before), write the initials I.N.R.I.
🕆 Kings are important people. If we are invited to meet a king or a queen, we would feel very important too. Jesus is a King, and he always invites us to talk to him. Today, after you have eaten, go to your room, and stay talking to Jesus, your King.
Light three candles and make the sign of the cross. Afterwards put out one of the violet candles.
Jesus, just as people obey their kings or queens, I want to obey you every day, even if what you are asking is not easy to do. Amen
You know that Jesus was nailed to the cross. Imagine how that hurt! Jesus went through all this suffering because he loves us. It is not easy to understand, but we believe that when Jesus died on the cross, he made it possible for us, that when one day, we die, we can go to heaven and be with him.
Do you have a crucifix in your room? If you do not, ask your parents to buy you one, and nail it to the wall. In this way, every time you look at it, you remember how much Jesus loves you.
Watch this clip, Hot cross buns and Good Friday.
Cut out the picture of the nails and colour it. Hang it on the ribbon or string together with your other pictures. (download from here).
On a heart (same colour as the previous one) write, Jesus, I love you.
Remember to add your pebbles, today you will be adding the 25th one!
Ask mummy or daddy to buy you a hot cross bun (the cross on the bun, reminds us of the cross of Jesus). This bun is not for you! Give it to your brother or sister, or you may share it with your parents.
Jesus, I want to love you. Teach me how to love you and how to love others. Amen.
No-one wants to be called “a donkey!” We think that the donkey is a lazy animal. However, in the Bible, we read about several donkeys who were lucky. Do you remember that it was a donkey which took Mary and Joseph to Betlehem. They did not have a big strong horse to travel with. They also used a donkey to escape to Egypt. Next Sunday, we will hear the story of another donkey who was very lucky. Jesus rode on a donkey to enter Jerusalem.
In Jesus’ time, donkeys were a symbol of peace. So, when Jesus chose to enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey, he wanted to show the people that he did not want any wars or fighting, he had come to earth to bring peace.
From your Bible read the story of when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey.
Watch the legend of the donkey that Jesus rode, The Legend of the Donkey’s Cross.
Cut out the picture of the donkey and colour it. Hang it with the rest. (download from here).
On a heart (same colour as the previous one), write, Jesus wants peace.
✂ Instead of buying sweets or something else, today give the money to the poor. In most churches you can find a box where money is collected for needy people.
Light two candles and make the sign of the cross. Afterwards blow out the pink candle.
Jesus, you want us to be friends to each other. Help us to love everyone. Jesus want to pray for those countries where there is a war going on. I pray that these wars end and there is peace. Amen.
Our Lady of Sorrows
When we enter church, most probably we will see a statue of Our Lady of Sorrows. This statue shows Mary as being very sad, because the people had killed Jesus, after beating him and crucifying him. She was sad because Jesus had done nothing wrong, he had always loved everyong, this was a great injustice.
Were you ever blamed for something which you did not do? How did it feel?
Watch the video, The Seven Sorrows of Mary.
Cut out the picture of Our Lady of Sorrows, and colour it. Hang it together with your other pictures. (download from here).
On a green heart, write, Virgin Mary, I love you.
Remember the pebbles, you are adding the 31st one today!
Together with your family, visit a relative or friend who lives alone or is in an Old People’s Home and does not go out.
Let’s pray …
Our Lady of Sorrows I wish to pray for those parents who are suffering because of their children.
Pray the Hail Mary.
Today we celebrate Palm Sunday, when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey and the people welcomed him with great joy. The people welcomed Jesus as their king. Imagine you are at home, and you hear a lot of shouting outside. Most probably you will go out to see what was happening. Some people tell you that Jesus is going to pass from there. What will you do? What will you tell Jesus when he passes from in front of your house?
Read from you Bible the story when Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey. You may also watch this clip, Palm Sunday.
Listen to, Sing it Hosanna.
Cut out the picture of the palm trees and colour them. Add them to the other pictures you have on your mobile. (download from here).
On a green heart, write, Hosanna!
You have enough hearts to make another flower. Put these flowers on your prayer table. 🕆 Today go with your family to church. Look at the tabernacle, Jesus’ special place, and talk to him. Also, say some prayers which you know by heart.
Light the last candle and make the sign of the cross. Afterwards put out this candle. There are no more candles. This is the last Sunday of Lent. Today, we start Holy Week.
Dear Jesus, I want you to be my king. I want to always obey you. Amen.
Basin, water and towel
Tomorrow, when you go to church, most probably you will see the priest washing people’s feet. Do you know why?
Once, Jesus washed his friends’ feet. He wanted to show them what they were to do. Everyone was equal, no one was better than the rest. We are to help those who ask us. We are to do what Jesus did.
Use your Bible, to read the story of when Jesus washed the Apostles’ feet during the Last Supper.
Cut out the picture of the basin with water and the towel, and colour them. Hang it with the other pictures.( download from here).
On a heart (not green), write, I want to do what Jesus did.
Are you remembering to add the pebbles? You are adding the 37th one! Soon you have no more pebbles left! Help at home before being asked, for example pick up your toys after playing with them, leave your clothes tidy, help with the cooking and help to lay the table.
Jesus, you know that it is not always easy to help others either because we do not feel like or else because these people did not help us when we needed, or else they are not our friends. But you want us to help everyone. Jesus help us to do as you wish and not as we want. Amen.
The crown of thorns
Today it is Good Friday. We remember how much Jesus loves us.
The soldiers put a crown of thorns on Jesus’ head. If Jesus was near you, what would you put on his head?
From your Bible, you may read about the passion of Jesus, when the soldiers crucified Jesus. You may also watch this.
Listen to, Where you there?
Cut out the picture of the crown of thorns and colour it. Hang it with the other pictures. (download from here).
On a heart (same colour as the previous one) write, Thank you, Jesus.
Remember the pebbles, today you are added the 39th one! You only have one left, which you will add tomorrow morning. It’s Easter soon!
✂ Do not play with your toys, tablet or computer, today. When you feel like playing, look at Jesus and tell him, “Thank you, Jesus.”
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your cross you have redeemed (saved) the world.
The Church starts a new season in the Liturgical Calendar in preparation for the biggest feast Easter. This season is called Lent and it lasts for 40 days, this is followed by three special days called the Easter Triduum (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday). The Church then celebrates the season of Easter for 50 days until the feast of Pentecost (the day the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles).
During these special seasons we are going to go on a journey of faith. The first part is our Lenten journey, seven weeks to Easter Sunday and our encounter with Jesus. Then we will continue for another seven weeks, our Easter journey. Our destination is the feast of Pentecost, also known as the “birthday of the Church” and we will celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit. Our journey involves following signs and symbols which we see and hear about in Church and on our response and our actions regarding these signs, to help us we are going to make a “Symbol Tree.”
We will Need
The Number 40
In the Bible the number 40 is symbolic. It often represents a period of time where someone’s faith is tested. In the Old Testament we read the story of Noah (Genesis7-8) who stayed in the ark for 40 days and nights, and Moses who stayed on the mountaintop for 40 days and nights when God gives him the Ten Commandments (Exodus 24:18). The Israelites spent 40 years wandering in the desert to reach the promised land after their escape from Egypt (Deuteronomy 8: 2). King David reigned for 40 years (2 Samuel 5:4). Elijah walked for 40 days and nights to mount Horeb, Gods’ Holy Mountain (1 Kings 19:8). Solomon also ruled Israel for 40 years (2 Chronicles 9:30) and Jonah preached to the people of Nineveh that God would destroy their city in 40 days’ time if they did not repent and say sorry to God for their wrongdoing (Jonah 3:4). In the New Testament Jesus stayed in the desert for 40 days and nights (Matthew 4:2, Mark 1: 13, Luke 4:2) and Jesus appeared for 40 days to the disciples after his resurrection (Acts 1: 3).
The number 40 is symbolic for us too as it is the number of days which Lent lasts, it is a time of preparation for us to offer our prayers, actions, and sacrifices to God and to get closer to Jesus.
Dear Lord, thank you for your great love for us and for your sacrifice on the cross. Help us to focus our thoughts and actions on your saving grace throughout these 40 days of Lent which will lead us to the glory of the Resurrection. Amen
Print the symbol, hang it on your tree.
Jesus went into the desert which is a dry place full of sand and stones, where he fasted and prayed. Not many plants are able to grow in these conditions. Whilst he was in the desert the devil used stones to tempt Jesus who must have been very hungry. “If you are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread” (Mt 4:3). Jesus made the stones a symbol for overcoming temptation when he replied, “one does not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Mt 4:4, Dt 8:3). He teaches us not to give in to temptation.
Our Father, who art in heaven. Hallowed be thy Name, Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil. Amen.
Print the symbol, hang it on your tree.
In the Old Testament ashes represent sorrow for sins and death. The people after admitting their sins would sit down in ashes or cover themselves in ashes as a penance. We do not do this today but on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent we use ashes as a symbol of the recognition of our sins and being sorry for them. The priest sprinkles ashes on our head or makes the Sign of the Cross on our forehead saying either “turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel” (Mk 1:15) or “remember you are dust and unto dust you will return” (Gen 3: 19). The ashes come from the burning of palms from Palm Sunday of the previous year, they are crushed into a fine powder. They remind us that as human beings we depend on God.
God, Father and Creator, during this holy season of Lent, help us to change and grow closer to you through sacrifice and acts of charity. Help us become the kind of people you created us to be. Amen
Print the symbol, hang it on your tree.
The Bread and wine
Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life” (Jn 6:35). We receive Jesus under the appearance of bread in the Eucharist. At the Last Supper, Jesus blessed and broke bread for the first time with the apostles. He said, “Take it and eat this is my body.” Then he took a cup of wine, blessed it and said, “Drink from this, all of you, for this is my blood.” When we go to Mass and receive the Eucharist, we truly meet Jesus in a special way. The priest through the words of consecration by the power of the Holy Spirit changes the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus. When we receive the bread the priest says, “the Body of Christ” and we say, “Amen” (yes, I believe).
Dear Jesus, thank you for coming to me in the Eucharist. Amen.
Print the symbol, hang it on your tree.
The colour violet
In Jesus’ time the colour violet or deep purple was associated with Kings and royalty. The colour violet is the liturgical colour of the season of Lent. The priest also wears a violet stole for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It symbolises repentance (saying sorry to God) as well as Jesus as the King of the World. It also symbolises the suffering which Jesus endured when the soldiers mocked and beat him, placing a crown of thorns on his head and a purple robe on his shoulders (Mk 15: 17).
Dear Father, I give you all the things that I have done wrong. I choose to turn away from sin and ask for your forgiveness. Help me to focus my attention on you. Amen
Print the symbol, hang it on your tree.
Lent is a time of preparation; we prepare our hearts for Jesus’ death and resurrection. Three ways to prepare ourselves is through prayer, sacrifice (fasting) and almsgiving (charity). Fasting means to reduce the amount of food you eat; sacrifice means we give up something which gives us the opportunity to focus on God. Pretzels are traditionally a symbol of fasting; they are special Lenten bread. It was customary to give up fat, eggs, milk, and meat during Lent and so a special bread dough consisting of only flour, salt and water was made. The dough was rolled into lengths and shaped into crossed arms to remind themselves of the importance of prayer. It was common at the time to pray with your arms crossed across your chest. The bread was called bracellae or, “little arms” or pretzel. So, pretzels remind us of fasting and prayer.
Lord, help me this Lent to spend more time in prayer so that I can get closer to you. Amen
As Catholics during Lent, we are asked to fast (eat one main meal and two small meals only) on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and not to eat meat on all the Fridays of Lent, fish should be eaten instead. This is a reminder that Jesus offered His body as a sacrifice for our sins when He died on the cross. This though is for everyone over the age of 14, but you can fast in other ways every Friday during Lent. Fast from sweets and chocolate, fast from complaining, fast from watching your favourite television programme, or play station. Fast from comparing yourself to others, fast from a bad habit, fast from getting angry with your siblings. Fast from seeking attention are a few ideas.
Lord, help me to understand that I need your help as I journey through Lent. I am sorry for all the times I make you sad because I do not follow you when I try to do things my own way. I am sorry for all the times I do not listen to people who can guide me. Amen
Cross / I.N.R.I
The cross is a symbol of Lent and Easter as Jesus our Lord and Saviour died on the cross on Calvary along with two criminals. Jesus sacrificed Himself for our sins so that we can have the gift of eternal life. In the New Testament Jesus is referred to as the King of the Jews. Pilate placed a sign above Jesus on the cross it had the letters INRI which means “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” to mock and make fun of Jesus. Latin does not use the letter “J” that is why it is INRI and not JNRJ. In those days it was common for the Romans to put a sign on the cross with the charges against the criminal. The Gospels say that the sign was written in Latin, Greek and Hebrew so that everyone could read the charge against Jesus. Although Pilate put the sign to make fun of Jesus, it actually is the truth, as Jesus is not just King of the Jews but King of Kings (all things).
Jesus you are a King of Mercy, have mercy on us and forgive us. We trust in your great love and mercy. We pray for protection for us and our family. Amen
Three nails are a symbol of Jesus’ crucifixion because the Roman soldiers hammered three nails, two in His hands and one in His feet to nail Jesus to the cross. Imagine the pain and suffering Jesus went through for our sins. At the same time, they also remind us of the love and sacrifice that Jesus made for all people. During Lent we think about the great sacrifice Jesus made for us because He loves us. We use this time to make our own small sacrifices, through prayer, fasting or works of charity (almsgiving).
O My Jesus, I offer this sacrifice (mention your own sacrifice) for your great love, I pray that you will guide and lead me throughout my life. Amen
The donkey symbolizes the victory of Christ as we think about Jesus’ triumphant procession into Jerusalem a few days before he was crucified riding on a donkey. All four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) mention Jesus sitting on a young donkey which had never been ridden before as he entered Jerusalem and the crowds welcomed Him shouting and waving palm branches. The donkey carried Jesus on his back, and we can also carry Jesus, but obviously not on our back! We can carry Jesus in our hearts, in our kind words, and in our caring actions. We are like the donkey who carried Jesus whenever we do something good for others out of love.
Lord, help me to always carry you in my heart and to show others your love in my words and in my actions. Amen
Our Lady of Sorrows
The feast of Our Lady of Sorrows (Jum id-Duluri) traditionally takes place in Malta and Gozo on the Friday before Good Friday. Many towns and villages celebrate by organizing a penitential pilgrimage where people walk slowly in prayerful procession behind a statue of Mary. The statue of Mary is very sorrowful and there are 7 daggers piercing her heart. The 7 daggers represent the 7 sorrows that Mary endured during her life on earth.
To learn more about this devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows you can watch this video.
Our mother of sorrows, with strength from above you stood by the cross, sharing in the sufferings of Jesus, and with tender care you held him in your arms, mourning and weeping. We praise you for your great faith in accepting the life which God planned for you. Help us to increase our faith. Amen
The symbol of palms reminds us of Palm Sunday which is the last Sunday of Lent and leads to Holy Week. On this day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and the people welcomed him shouting “Hosanna” and laid palms on the road before Jesus King of the Jews, just a few days before he was crucified (Jn 12: 12-14, Mt 21: 8-10). The word “Hosanna” in Hebrew (Jesus’ language) means “I beg you to save,” or “please deliver us.” The palm branch is a symbol of victory, peace, and eternal life. If you go to mass on Palm Sunday before the Palm Sunday procession begins the priest blesses the palm branches with Holy Water. On Palm Sunday the church distributes blessed olive branches which we can take home and keep, and they help us to grow closer to God throughout the year.
To learn more about this devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows you can watch this video.
Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Help us to follow the example of Your Son Jesus with patience and humility, as we journey towards Easter. Amen
Water and towel
The wash basin, water and towel are a symbol of the new commandment Jesus gives his disciples at the Last Supper. We are called as followers of Jesus to serve each other. Jesus at the Last Supper acted like a servant when he washed the feet of his disciples. Jesus poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. In Jesus’ days foot washing was done by the servants, when Jesus washed their feet, the disciples were shocked, but Jesus taught them the lesson of selfless love. We celebrate this event on Maundy Thursday. At mass in the evening the priest washes the feet of 12 people and dries them just as Jesus did. The wash basin and towel also signify the actions of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who washed his hands of responsibility for condemning Jesus to death. He said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” (Mt 27:24).
Jesus, your love is eternal. We offer You a place in our home and in our hearts. Come, help us open our door to You, stay with us. Bring us Your peace and Your joy. I am sorry for the times I have turned against You and found it difficult to say that You’re my friend. Amen
Today is the start of 3 special days, the Easter Triduum. To remember what Jesus did during the Last Supper leave an empty seat at dinner for Jesus, to remind everyone that He is invited to your home.
Crown of thorns
When we think of a crown, we usually imagine a gold crown with jewels worn by a king or queen. Jesus was mocked by soldiers and made to wear a very different kind of crown. It was a crown of thorns which they pressed onto Jesus’ head after he had been arrested. They wanted to make fun of Jesus and humiliate him. Imagine the physical pain and suffering which the soldiers inflicted on Jesus, after whipping Him they pressed the sharp crown onto His head. The crown of thorns symbolizes Jesus’ pain, suffering and humiliation which He bore for our sake. Jesus had committed no crime, but He died on the cross so that our sins can be forgiven and that we can receive the gift of eternal life in heaven, He made the ultimate sacrifice. The crown of thorns reminds us of physical suffering, injustice, and loneliness in the world.
Lord, we accept you as King, we know how much You suffered for us. Thank you for being both our King and our Saviour. Never let me mock You as the soldiers did, grant us forgiveness and mercy through Your sacred wounds. Amen
Today is Good Friday, the second day of the Easter Triduum. It is a day of fasting and sacrifice because we remember Jesus’ death on the cross. Try to attend the 3 o’clock church service with your family. It consists of three parts, Liturgy of the Word, Veneration of the Cross, and the Service of Communion.