“Praying through Holy Week” with the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist

Last night, in preparation for the Virtual Parish’s Palm Sunday Mass, Sisters John Mary, Angela Marie, and Maria Serra, shared their unique way of “praying through Holy Week.”


Click here for an article in the BC Catholic about this spirituality for Holy Week.

Here’s the talk they gave:

At the start of their talk, they played a video from Fr. Mike Schmitz, commenting on how this spirituality had such a profound effect upon his own journey through Holy Week.

Every day has a particular focus, based on the events of Christ’s Passion commemorated in the day’s liturgy.

“Commitment” Saturday


“When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51).

Just as Jesus made a very special commitment for the 1st Holy Week, so too, each year, we are called to make a very special commitment.

  • Reflection: “What do you personally need to commit to in a renewed way to live this Holy Week more profoundly? What’s something I’ve put off that I need to commit to?”
  • Examples: a work project, improving a relationship with a difficult family member, starting up a particular devotion.


“Procession” Sunday


When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” (Matthew 21:10-11).

“Procession” Sunday “means being willing to go out there, and being a public witness of our faith.”

  • Reflection: “How am I called to visibly live out my faith this Holy Week? What practical sign of “Commitment” Saturday can I live out today?”
  • Examples: praying the rosary in public, praying before meals with a family, wearing a religious medal at work.


“Extravagance” Monday

The anointing at Bethany in John 12 | Psephizo

“Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table.” (Matthew 26:6-7)

“Extravagance” Monday is a day in which we live out extravagantly, in imitation of the woman who poured all of her expensive ointment on Jesus’ feet.

  • Reflection: “How can I live out my faith in an extravagant way today? How can I imitate this woman in extravagant love of Jesus?”
  • Examples: Wear your finest clothes for dinner & prepare an extravagant meal for your family, pray 3 times as much throughout the day, make a general confession, donate twice as much to your parish church.


“Compulsion to Completion” Tuesday

Jesus predicts his betrayal - Wikipedia

As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” (John 13:27).

“Compulsion to Completion” Tuesday is a day to complete certain tasks that you have been putting off.

  • Reflection: “What have I been putting off this Lent that I feel compelled to finally complete today?”
  • Examples: finishing a project, calling a person you’ve been meaning to speak with, tidying up your home.


“Alone” Wednesday

Who Was the Angel Sent to Comfort Jesus in Gethsemane? | LDS Living

“When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?” (Matthew 26:20-22).

“Alone” Wednesday is a day of silence to reflect on both Judas’ aloneness in his and in Christ’s aloneness as He prepared to meet the Cross.

  • Reflection: “How can I be alone with myself today in a way that allows me to enter more deeply into the reality of my own sin and enter more deeply into the loneliness that Jesus felt in preparation for His Passion?”
  • Examples: Eat by yourself in silence, no social media or phone use, a day of total silence.


“Body Given” Thursday

Whatever Happened to the 12 Disciples? - Beliefnet

“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” (Matthew 26:26).

“Body Given” Thursday is a day to reflect upon both the total gift of self that Jesus gives to us in the Eucharist and the total gift of self that we are called to make in reply.

  • Reflection: “How can I imitate Jesus’ total gift of self today? How can I be like Jesus in emptying myself out in charity today?”
  • Examples: Reach out to someone who has rejected you. Give yourself totally to someone who you find difficult to connect with.


“There is no law / Impotence” Friday

What happened to the True Cross of Christ?

“About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) (Matthew 27:46).

“There is no law / Impotence” Friday is a day to reflect on (1) how there was no law to protect Jesus from his passion and death and (2) how Jesus’ impotence on the Cross destroyed death.

  • Reflection: How have my sins contributed to the death of Jesus? How can I respond this great act of injustice? Has Jesus’ death made any difference in my life?”
  • Examples: The sisters attend a Tenebrae service, go to church, and decorate Easter eggs on this day. “The symbol of the egg being dipped is a sign of Jesus entering the tomb,” said Sister Siepker. Fast. Pray for all those where there is no law that protects them from suffering and death (ie. abortion, child prostitution, euthanasia).


“Night” Saturday

What kind of stone sealed Jesus' tomb? --Aleteia

Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.” (Matthew 27:57-60). 

“Night” Saturday is a day to enter into the darkness of the tomb, to feel the emptiness and soberness of Holy Saturday, to embrace the darkness of life and persevere beyond this passing phase.

  • Reflection: How can I spend time with Jesus today reflecting upon His death? In what ways can I sit in the silence of the empty tomb and reflect upon what has just taken place throughout Holy Week?
  • Examples: Turn off all TV and social media. Observe a day of silence. Clean your house in a slow and prayerful manner. Read these Holy Saturday meditations from Pope Benedict XVI.


“Miracles” Sunday

Was Jesus Resurrected? - Mustard Seed Recording

“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words” (Luke 24:1-8).

“Miracles” Sunday is a day of celebration! To feast and rejoice in the great miracle that has taken place – Christ is truly risen!

  • Reflection: “How can I rejoice today with Jesus? In what ways can I show Him my gratitude and live out this Easter season with the joy of the resurrection at work in my life? What are the miracles that Jesus has worked in my life?”
  • Examples: Journal about all of the miracles that have taken place in your life. Celebrate with a great feast. Call others to share in the Easter joy. Share on social media about how Jesus’ resurrection has brought miracles in your own life.


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