Our Holiest Days

A friend recently wondered about how their family could observe the Holy Week well “on the road” since they will be traveling during that time. She was contemplating how to keep the Triduum holy “on the go” and considering which Easter traditions will travel with them.

I remember the year our family was traveling, and we completely missed Easter Mass because we misread the Mass times at an unfamiliar church, thinking the time was pm, when it was am. So much for setting any example to follow. Other years we were more successful in participating in celebrations at other churches where we were staying. It can be an interesting experience to participate in services at churches where we might be visiting. It is admirable that a family tries to observe these religious traditions while “on vacation.” 

Thinking about this, what came to my mind was the advice my friend, Colleen, gave me years ago. She said, as only a former nun and a wise person could say, “You don’t need to look for Good Friday. Good Friday will find you.” Two things about her advice held meaning for me. One, participating in the liturgical celebration of Good Friday was a way I could prepare myself for the “Good Fridays” that would find me in my life, the times of loss, suffering, the dark days we all will have in life. And second, to remind me of the importance of internalizing the lessons of liturgical feasts and seasons that help me to live faithfully. While the liturgical year, something I participate in with my beloved faith community, is public worship, it also is something I carry in my heart and mind to help me find meaning and hope and God’s presence in my life journey.

So back to my friend’s question about how to observe these holy days on the road. I offer these suggestions:

One, find a community to worship with. It may be different than the way we celebrate at our home parish. But what a wonderful lesson for children to learn there will be other Catholic communities in many places to discover in their life.

Two, this may be an opportunity to talk about “internalizing” the central core lessons of our holy days so when sadness, sacrifice and suffering come into your life, trust in hope, resurrection and new life are also there.

Three, make these days different in some way. Perhaps an act of service, even serving someone within your family on Holy Thursday, or a small sacrifice or time of quiet reflection on Good Friday, and some wonderful celebration on Holy Saturday, maybe even getting up early to experience a sunrise together.

Make these days different and meaningful and sometime when you need the lessons of the holy days of the Triduum in your own life they will be tucked away into your heart.