Here are ideas for you to use in reflecting on the upcoming Sunday’s scriptures with your classes.
Readings for April 9, 2017 – Palm Sunday
- Isaiah 50:4-7
- Philippians 2:6-11
- Matthew 26:14-27:66
“They … led him off to crucify him.” (Matthew 27:31)
Jesus’ journey led to death, but that wasn’t the end.
Teaching for Primary Grades:
Explain the importance of this week and why it is called holy. Describe what the Church commemorates on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. Take the children to the church and enact what will take place during the special services of each of these holy days.
Afterward, in the classroom, let children create their own Holy Week booklet with several pages of drawings for each of the special days. To remind them of what they observed as you demonstrated the services in the church, list on the board some features of each day:
- Holy Thursday: foot-washing, Last Supper/First Eucharist, stripping the altar
- Good Friday: reading about Jesus’ trial and death, adoration of Jesus on the cross, prayers for the world, Holy Communion
- Holy Saturday: new fire, darkness to light, Alleluia returns, new Baptisms
- Easter Sunday: story of Jesus rising from the dead, flowers, decorations, music
Teaching for Intermediate Grades:
Talk about Holy Week and urge the students to encourage their families to attend their parish services on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday. Describe what will happen at each service. During this holiest week of the Church year, Catholics commemorate the events in Jesus’ life that led to the central beliefs of our religion.
Give students an opportunity to review the sacrifices and good works they have engaged in during the season of Lent. Let them prepare an offering of these by writing or drawing what they have done. Then lead them in a solemn prayer service during which they can place their offering before an image of Jesus crucified and pray for the grace to live a life of loving service.
Teaching for Secondary Grades:
Describe how the Church commemorates the central beliefs of our religion during this holiest week of the year. From Palm Sunday through Easter, talk about the rituals of each day’s special services. Then divide the class into five groups and give each group a poster board, colored markers, and one special day to research and illustrate: Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday’s Easter Vigil, Easter Sunday. Members of each group should find whatever they can about unique features of their assigned day and its rituals and then make a poster to illustrate this.
Let groups present their posters. Hang them around the classroom. Share a prayer to close the season of Lent. Commend students for their acts of self-denial and service during this season. Encourage attendance at their parish services during these special days of Holy Week.