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Easter Customs for the Home

April 20, 2014

Celebrate all 50 days of Easter!

Here are some ideas…

Easter Breads: Jesus is the Bread of Life.
Rising bread reminds us of His Resurrection
& the Kingdom of Heaven is like a little yeast that made the whole mass of dough rise (Luke 13:21).
Easter breads are sweet & rich.
For one version, braid a sweet bread dough (braid symbolizes the Trinity),
shape into a circle (circle symbolizes eternity) & let rise.
Then place 5 raw, washed eggs into the top of the bread (symbolizing Jesus’ 5 wounds) & bake.
The eggs can be “painted” with food coloring after baking.

Eggs: symbolic of new life
(chick comes from a seemingly dead egg as Jesus came from a seemingly dead tomb).
Decorate eggs with religious themes
(including the symbols listed on the “Christmas Customs” handout, palms for Palm Sunday, “Alleluia”, “Gloria”, lilies, shell for Baptism, rising sun, wheat & grapes, etc).
Decorate a “tree” (branch stuck in a flowerpot) with decorated blown eggs.

Easter week: the first 8 days of Easter are all Solemnities (the highest celebration of the entire year). Celebrate all week! Go to daily Mass if you can (spend time with the Risen Lord).

New clothes: Since we renew our Baptismal promises at Easter,
we “put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27) all over again.
New clothes symbolize this new life (consider giving away clothing you no longer wear).

Easter Walk: Go for a walk in remembrance of Jesus’ walk with His disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). Talk about stories from the Bible, as they did.
Walk to Mass if you can, since the walk to Emmaus ended with “the breaking of the bread”,
a phrase used in the New Testament to refer to the Mass.

Picnic Breakfast: Have a picnic breakfast outside (if it’s warm enough) or on a blanket on the floor
in honor of the picnic breakfast Jesus had with His disciples on the beach (read John 21).
Go to a beach if you can.

Meditate on the Stations of Light (the Easter version of the Stations of the Cross):
These stations were inspired by an inscription of I Corinthians 15:3-8
in the Catacombs of St. Callistus in Rome.

1) The Women Come to the Tomb and Encounter an Angel (Mark 16:1-3, Matthew 28: 2-8).

2) The Disciples Discover the Empty Tomb (John 20:3-10)

3) The Risen Lord Appears to Mary Magdalene, Apostle to the Apostles (John 20:11-18)

4) The Risen Lord Appears on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-27)

5) The Risen Lord is Recognized in the Breaking of the Bread (Luke 24: 28-35)

6) The Risen Lord Appears to the Community of Disciples (Luke 24: 36-45)

7) The Risen Lord Gives the Disciples the Power to Forgive (John 20: 20b-23)

8 ) The Risen Lord Confirms the Faith of Thomas (John 20: 24-29)

9) The Risen Lord Eats with the Disciples on the Shore of Tiberias (John 21:1-14)

10) The Risen Lord Forgives Peter and Commissions Him to Lead His Church (John 21: 15-19)

11) The Risen Lord Sends the Disciples to All Nations (Matthew 28: 16-20)

12) The Risen Lord Ascends into Heaven (Mark 16: 19, Acts 1:10-12)

13) Mary and the Disciples Keep Vigil in the Upper Room for the Spirit’s Advent (Acts 1:4-5, 13-14)

14) The Risen Lord Sends the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-6, 14, 37-38, 41)

Decorations: uncover the religious images you covered during Passiontide (the last 2 weeks of Lent)

White: decorate your home & yourself in the liturgical color of Easter

Easter Scene: Consider using greenery (or Easter grass), an empty cross (2 sticks tied together ) draped with a white cloth, a lamb (from a nativity scene), empty tomb (make one of paper mâché),
have a figurine of Mary (from a nativity scene) looking into the tomb, add flowers–be creative!

Alleluia & Gloria: Make a sign or banner of these, now that they’ve returned.
Sing songs with Alleluia & Gloria. Use these words in decorations, cards, etc.

Candles: Christ is our Light. Light a white candle at home like the Easter candle at church.

Blessed Fire: Families used to light their family hearth from the blessed Easterfire
& keep it burning all year.
See if you can keep the fire burning through the Easter season.

Lilies: symbol of purity, and of the joy of Easter.

Butterflies: Symbolic of new life (coming out of the “tomb” of the cocoon).

Lambs: Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away our sins (butter lambs & lamb cakes are fun too).

Water: symbol of Baptism. Surround a fountain or a bowl of water with flowers or greenery.
Put holy water fonts in your home & bless yourself with the holy water often.

Jonah & the whale: also symbolic of new life. Tell the story, act it out, and/or use it in decorations.

Easter Scavenger Hunt: Take turns finding items symbolic of Jesus’ Resurrection,
reading the Scripture verses & talking about them (maybe one/day at supper).
Use these or make up your own:
3 (the third day, Luke 24:21);
1 (first day of the week, Mark 16:2);
wax & string (tomb was sealed, Matthew 27:66–breaking a Roman seal was punishable by death);
alarm clock (early morning, Mark 16:2);
women (first at the tomb, Mark 16:1);
sweet spices (took spices to the tomb, John 24:1);
shake a box of rocks (earthquake, Matthew 28:2);
angel (announced resurrection, Matthew 28:2);
snow (garments dazzling as snow, Matthew 28:3);
soldiers (guarded tomb, Matthew 28:4);
stone (rolled away, Mark 16:1-4);
running shoes (Peter & John ran to the tomb, John 20:3-9),
white cloth (shroud, John 20:1-10);
salt water (Mary Magdalene’s tears, John 20:11-18);
garden tools (Mary thought she saw the gardener, John 20:14-15),
cling wrap (Jesus told Mary to stop clinging to Him, John 20:17),
coins (soldiers were bribed, Matthew 28:11-15);
road (disciples were traveling, Luke 24:13);
? (disciples were confused, Luke 24:17-24);
Bible (Jesus explained Scriptures, Luke 24:13-27, 45);
invitation (disciples urged Jesus to stay with them, Luke 24:29);
unleavened bread (it was still “the Feast of Unleavened Bread”;
knew Jesus in the breaking of bread, Luke 24:28-35);
fire (“weren’t our hearts burning?”, Luke 24:32);
picture of the pope (Jesus appeared to Peter, Luke 24:34, I Corinthians 15:5);
key (doors were locked; Jesus enabled disciples to forgive–unlock sins, John 20:19-23);
dove (“Peace be with you”, John 20:19);
ghost (disciples thought Jesus was a ghost, Luke 24:37);
shake a finger (disciples scolded for disbelief, Mark 16:14);
fish (ate a piece of fish, Luke 24:36-45);
hand (“Thomas, put your hand My side”, John 20:24-29);
sand (Jesus appeared on the beach, John 21:1-7);
net or boat (the great catch, John 21:7-14);
charcoal (charcoal fire, John 21:9);
heart (“Peter, do you love Me?”, John 21:15);
sheep (“Peter, feed My sheep”, John 21:15-20);
rope or belt (prediction of Peter’s martyrdom, John 21:18-19);
crown (Jesus spoke of the Kingdom, Acts 1:3);
globe (“go into the whole world”, Mark 16:15);
water (command to baptize, Matthew 28:19);
triangle or triquetra (Trinity, Matthew 28:19);
apple (symbolizing teachers–disciples are to teach Jesus’ commands, Matthew 28:20);
clothing (wait to be clothed with power from on high, Luke 24:49);
Tabernacle (“I AM with you always”, Matthew 28:20);
blessing (Jesus blessed them, Luke 24:50-51);
tuft of cotton (cloud took Him from sight, Acts 1:3-11);
Mary (praying with Mary, Acts 1:12-14);
long & short sticks (drawing lots to replace Judas, Acts 1:15-26);
fan turned on high (mighty wind, Acts 2: 1-3);
tongue (everyone understood them, Acts 2:3-47);
pile of books (couldn’t contain all Jesus did, John 21:25)

Regina Coeli (“Queen of heaven”)
During the Easter season, this prayer replaces
the Angelus, which is prayed 3 times a day
(morning, noon & night)

Queen of heaven, rejoice, alleluia!
The Son whom you merited to bear, alleluia!
has risen as He said, alleluia!
Pray for us to God, alleluia!

Verse: Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia!
Response: For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia!

Let us pray.
O God, who by the Resurrection of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
have given joy to the whole world,
grant, we beg You, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother,
we may attain the joys of eternal life.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Angelus

Verse: The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary
Response: and she conceived by the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee…(etc.)

Verse: Behold the handmaid of the Lord
Response: be it done unto me according to Thy word
Hail Mary… (etc.)

Verse: And the Word became flesh
Response: and dwelt among us
Hail Mary… (etc.)

Verse: Pray for us, O holy mother of God
Response: that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.
Pour forth, we beseech You O Lord, Your grace into our hearts,
that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Your Son,
was made known by the message of an angel
may, by His Passion and Cross,
come to share in the glory of His resurrection,
through this same Christ our Lord. Amen.

May devotions: In the 16th century, St. Philip Neri began the custom
of decorating a statue of Mary with spring flowers.
Jesuit priests later proposed devotions throughout May in her honor.
Surround a statue of Mary with flowers (and perhaps a candle)
and make a point of asking her intercession during this month.
There may also be a “May crowning” at church, in which children crown a statue of Mary with flowers.

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