Updated: Mar 24, 2021
I am gearing up for celebrating Palm Sunday in our home with lots of great resources that I think you will enjoy. A couple of weeks ago I did a brief interview on Guadalupe Radio Network-Houston and was told that apparently I've been preparing for quarantined liturgies for a while without knowing it. I've always had a great time building tradition in our home and Holy Week is a must. We like to be very intentional in our home during this time, so we integrate some sort of prayer and activity every day. To help get you going, I'm sharing some of the resources that I've created for my family to use along other activities that I have seen floating around. If you'd like resources and ideas for each day of Holy Week please go like or follow my Facebook Page @HisGirlSunday where you can find more.
On Palm Sunday, or Passion Sunday, we commemorate Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem, an entry that will directly lead to the accomplishment of the Paschal Mystery. Pope Benedict XVI explained in his book Jesus of Nazareth, that it is important for us to understand the meaning behind this day. Jesus is claiming the rights of a King, He is showing the people fulfillment of Old Testament promises, and He is showing that His power does not come from man but from God. The people recognized Him as their Messiah, their King, and we can see this in the way that they lay out their garments on the street, wave their palm/olive branches, and proclaim, "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming! Hosanna in the Highest!" (Mark 11:9-10)
I want to bring the spirit of this recognition for Christ as our King into the domestic church and I think that we can accomplish this in our own ways. Here are some ideas to honor Jesus through prayer, liturgical readings, activities, and decor! Please don't feel like you have to do it all, pick and choose what works best for you and your family and adapt to fit the age range of your children.
Palm Sunday Liturgy
Take some time before Palm Sunday to go by your local parish and pick up blessed palm branches. I know that ours will be open so that this can be done, so check with yours as well. Remember that blessed palms are considered sacramentals so they need to be blessed by a priest and be disposed of by being either burned or buried.
If you click on this link you will find a full script for doing the Palm Sunday Liturgy of the Word at home. This link allows for only one download per household.
If you would like to learn more about the Processional Hymn "All Glory, Laud, and Honor" that dates back to 821 AD check out this link.
Palm Sunday Crafts & Games (Adapt for varying ages, some of these are great for teens too!)
1. Palm Crosses: I'm a crafty lady but even these are hard for me. I have found a really great step by step tutorial from Catholic Icing for learning how to fold a palm cross.
2. Triumphal Entry Relay Race: This is a fun game for the backyard to get those kids out and moving. On one end of the yard have a cape (blanket or towel if this was a clip from my own childhood) and a palm branch. Have the kids stand on the other end of the yard, run as fast as you can to put on the cape & grab the palm branch, and run back to your initial spot waving the palm branch. The fastest one wins!
3. Hosanna Palm Branch Wavers: This is a really cute craft to do with older elementary age kids, and younger with help, to make their own palm branch. They trace their hands on green construction paper and glue them to ice cream sticks. Along with this you could read a kid friendly version of the entry into Jerusalem together. Link for details!
4. Palm Sunday Coloring Pages: Need a little bit of down time today? These coloring pages are absolutely adorable and easy to print. You could do several of them and have the kiddos make their own Palm Sunday story book.
5. Catholic Kids' Stations of the Cross Video: The Stations of the Cross are a staple prayer experience for us as Catholics during this time. This multimedia video from Loyola press is a really great way to keep engagement with kids. I would say older elementary and junior high kids would really benefit from doing something like this. They also have a printable version which could be colored by little kids and of course your teens can pray the adult version along with you.
For Teens: (I've used this one for years because the reflections are very relevant for them): https://www.archwinnipeg.ca/media/youth/docs/youth_resource-1238107982.pdf
6. Paper Bag Donkey: In the Gospel, Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey, check out this adorable paper bag donkey craft that would be fun to make and play with. When I taught elementary my kids really enjoyed puppet play, you could always go beyond this and make the key players in the story and teach them the lesson of Palm Sunday through this means.
7. Crown Hunt: Write words from the Gospel reading today on "crown" cut outs, hide the crowns around your house or yard and let the kids go on a "crown hunt". Once they have found all of the crowns, put them in order so that they can read the Gospel verse.
8. Palm Sunday Video for Teens: This video is made by Spirit Juice, I've worked with them before at a conference and they make really great quality videos. Watch the video with them and discuss what they took away from it when it's finished or how we can be more appreciative of our faith and the greatest act of sacrifice that has been made for us. Here is a a brief synopsis..."The video depicts two young men and their mother listening to the long Palm Sunday Gospel reading. One of the two young men, though he is bored at first, experiences a profound vision of Christ’s Passion and Death. Suddenly, he realizes how personal the Paschal Mystery really is. The video culminates in a powerful appreciation for the presence of Christ in the Eucharist."
9. Check out this book with sweet illustrations called, "The Donkey That No One Could Ride". This is the Palm Sunday scripture story from the donkey's point of view!
Photo Credit: Harvest House
Palm Sunday Decorations
1. Make a wreath: I have seen beautiful door decorations done by using palm branches, not sure which one I am going to try just yet. I need to raid the craft closet to figure out what supplies I have but these could be made simply and serve as a reminder to our neighbors that today is a special solemnity. Check out these options that I found below.
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2. Vase Arrangement: A really simple but elegant way of keeping the palms displayed in your home is by putting them in a basic narrow + long vase. You could put this on your prayer table/home altar, kitchen table, or another place that you frequently walk by. The palms can act as a physical reminder for us to repent from our sins, remember that they are used to make the ashes which we placed upon our forehead only a few weeks ago, and of Christ's victory! I found this example that I'm going to be copying, apparently West Elm took a decorating tip or two from us Catholics, wink wink!
Photo Credit: West Elm
3. Crucifix Display: Something that we do with our palms is tuck them behind a crucifix, by doing this we can recall the important message from Pope Benedict XVI every time we kneel down to pray. We take them down right before Ash Wednesday and we bring them to the Church to have made into ash. On Palm Sunday we bring home new ones for our crucifix.
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4. Flower Flat-Lay: In doing some research I learned that in Germany and France it is a part of their Palm Sunday tradition to strew flowers and greenery around the foot of the cross in their Church courtyards. This could easily be adapted by buying or having the kids pick some flowers to lay across your home altar/prayer table.
With all of this I hope that you can make your domestic church a place to truly encounter Our Lord on this Palm Sunday. I know that it will be different from what we have most likely ever experienced but I think that by picking some of these things to do we can really make it an engaging experience for our entire family. Oh, by the way, if any of you try out the Triumphal Entry Relay Race, I'll be expecting an invitation!