How to Spend Holy Week at Home
What to read, watch and listen to
As Pope Francis livestreams Palm Sunday mass amid a near-empty St. Peter’s Basilica, it’s more apparent that times have changed. He remarks in his homily, “Today, in the tragedy of a pandemic, in the face of the many false securities that have now crumbled, in the face of so many hopes betrayed, in the sense of abandonment that weighs upon our hearts, Jesus says to each one of us: ‘Courage; open your heart to my love.’ You will feel the consolation of God who sustains you.” In the time of a global crisis, suffering fills headlines but so does service.
As worshippers and devotees observe the last few days of the Lenten season—undoubtedly the most important period of the liturgical calendar—there is room for uninterrupted self-reflection. We gather material and online resources to help for the week ahead.
Ateneo de Manila University, together with the Jesuit Communications and the Philippine Jesuits, have a week-long schedule of events including an online retreat, daily masses and an online Way of the Cross. The Shrine of Christ’s Passion also provides a virtual tour of the Stations of the Cross. To stay updated on Holy Week activities, follow Ateneo on Facebook.
If you’ve exhausted Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, try the Golden Globes-nominated The Two Popes. It stars iconic actors Anthony Hopkins (Silence of the Lambs) as Pope Benedict XVI and Jonathan Pryce (Game of Thrones) as Pope Francis. The biographical drama gives us an intimate look at crucial conversations about the Catholic Church between the two before the latter’s election. Read the full review here.
Come Sunday is based on the real-life story of Bishop Carlton Pearson played by Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), a controversial American Christian minister who goes from leading a religious congregation to being labeled a heretic after publicly claiming that there is no hell—what he calls the “gospel of inclusion.”
For a week of self-reflection, try My Utmost for His Highest Holy Week Devotional, a classic bestseller from evangelist and teacher Oswald Chambers. Discover wisdom from a man who challenges one to give yourself fully to God.
Supplementary reading includes The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything by James Martin, SJ, Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis and Discernment by Henri Nouwen, to name a few. Discover more faith-based books by subscribing to Scribd for free.
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Additionally, a useful spiritual online resource to aid Christians all over the world comes from Providence College, which provides faith-based podcasts in times of a pandemic. For more Holy Week-related podcasts, click here.
We’re all trying to make sense of this crisis, and we all adapt to difficult situations differently; for many it’s their faith that keeps them grounded. The pews may be empty and communion—in all its forms—need be done indoors but we are not abandoned nor forsaken. This too shall pass.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver