What Catholic couples can do during Holy Week

Holy Week is the last week of Lent and the perfect time to fully prepare ourselves for the gift of Easter Sunday. It is very easy to give up on whatever sacrifices we might have already been slacking on, but we like to see Holy Week as a time to really dig in. Do more than you were already doing! And we like to do it together to hold each other accountable.

We have a post on what Catholic couples can do during Lent but wanted to share specific ideas just for Holy Week. Here we go…

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1. Have a “Holy Week of Darkness.”

Some friends of ours have been doing this for years! They spend the entire week in candlelight in anticipation of the Easter Vigil when the Paschal candle is the only light in the church. Read this post for their experience.

2. Limit screens.

Although we haven’t done a full Holy Week of Darkness, we do limit screens in a big way. We don’t watch much TV, if any. We try not to get on our phones as much. We do our best to unplug so we can embrace the silence and listen to what God is telling us.

3. Go to Confession.

Frequent reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation has been a game changer for our marriage. It’s especially important to go to confession during Lent, to better prepare yourself for celebrating the Paschal Mystery. So if you haven’t gone already (or even if you have), make it a priority during Holy Week. (Check with your church/priest as soon as possible because hours may be limited later in the week.)

4. Fast most of the week.

Our pastor challenged us to do this a few years ago, and it was honestly the best Holy Week we ever had up to that point— and that was in 2020 when there were no public Masses! We fasted on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday (he told us to skip Holy Thursday). Fasting really does draw you closer to Jesus. If you can’t fast from food (i.e. due to pregnancy), fast from something else.

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5. Attend as many liturgies as you can.

The Easter Triduum is the most sacred three days of the year. Take advantage of the beautiful liturgies on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. You will appreciate even more the gift Jesus gave us through the ultimate sacrifice on the cross. (Why yes, we even take our kids to the extra long Easter Vigil Mass! Our boys actually love it.)

6. Wash each other’s feet on Holy Thursday.

On the day that Jesus washed the feet of His apostles, take some time to wash each other’s feet. It was one of Jesus’ last acts on Earth to remind us that we are to love and sacrifice for each other. It can also be an intimate moment between husband and wife. (See John 13:1-20 for Jesus’ words about the washing of feet.)

7. Keep the day very solemn on Good Friday.

Unfortunately, Good Friday has become a very popular day to have crawfish boils (at least down here in Louisiana) and to celebrate. Go against the tide! Don’t do anything extravagant on this day. Keep screens off, fast, and remember that this is the day Jesus suffered and died on the cross to save us from our sins. If doing a Holy Week of Darkness is a little intimidating, start with just Good Friday. Leave the lights off all day and use candles when necessary.

8. Pray the Stations of the Cross.

The Stations of the Cross is a popular devotion during Lent (but can and should totally be done outside of Lent too!). Attend the Way of the Cross at your church if it’s available, or make your own stations in your backyard or living room. Maybe even find an outdoor Stations of the Cross to walk through together. We’ve even prayed the stations while walking to different churches in New Orleans —see our video of that here.

Whatever you do during Holy Week, remember to draw close to Jesus together. Be thankful for all of the gifts God has given you, and when Easter comes, rejoice!