Holy Week at Home

Diocese of Northampton Liturgy Commission and NORES COVID19 – 14 – 2 April 2020 HOLY WEEK at HOME

These are just a few ideas as to what we can do to keep Holy Week at home. You may already have a prayer space. That can be used or just set up a space that can be kept for the week. A candle, crucifix, bible or missal can be there all the time. Choose somewhere that people can see or gather around easily.

You can find all the texts and scripture passages in the Bible or missal, or on the pages that follow.

We have kept the language of the missal and the scriptures. This may need adapting according to the group.

PALM SUNDAY – a piece of red cloth, – some greenery from the garden made into a cross – give everyone a piece of greenery if possible – the prayer of blessing – the gospel of the entry into Jerusalem – Matthew 21:1-11 – try to make  procession singing “Give me Joy in my heart – Sing hosanna” or just sing!
Monday of Holy Week – Mary anoints Jesus feet : add some oil/ointment – John 12:1-11
Tuesday of Holy Week – Jesus predicts Judas will betray him by dipping bread into the dish : add a small dish and a piece of bread – John 12:21-38
Spy Wednesday – the story of Judas and thirty pieces of silver : add some coins Matthew 26:14-25
HOLY THURSDAY          In the evening : Jesus at the Last Supper – before of after a meal – a piece of white cloth, a jug and towel – the gospel of the mandatum : John 13:1-15 – Ubi caritas – Where there is love, there is God – Jesus institutes the Eucharist – I Corinthians 11:23-26 or any gospel account
GOOD FRIDAY Day of Fast and Abstinence – a piece of red cloth – use two pieces of wood as a cross without the figure – other signs of the Passion : crown of thorns, purple gown, hammer, nails, the sponge on a stick – the Passion story from John – John 18:1-19:42 – the intentions of the Universal Prayer and the new additional  prayer for CoVid19  
HOLY SATURDAY – a piece of gold/yellow/white cloth, – a new candle if possible, some flowers – the blessing prayer – light the candle – and candles for all – the proclamation of Easter : Exultet : Rejoice heavenly powers – sing Alleluia for the first time since Lent began – Vigil gospel – Matthew 28:1-10 – some water and renew your baptism promises
EASTER SUNDAY – a piece of gold/yellow/white cloth, – your Easter  candle, some flowers – Alleluia – Easter morning gospel : John 10-1-9 – some water and renew your baptism promises    


Greeting the Gospel      



Prayer over the Palms/Greenery

Increase the faith of those who place their hope in you, O God,

and graciously hear the prayers of those who call on you,

that we who hold high these branches to hail Christ in his triumph

may bear fruit for you by good works accomplished in him.

Who lives and reigns for ever. AMEN

The Gospel of the Palms

A reading from the holy gospel according to Matthew [21:1-11] – GLORY TO YOU, O LORD

Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord!

When they were near Jerusalem, and had come in sight of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, ‘Go off to the village facing you and you will immediately find a tethered donkey and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you are to say, “The Master needs them and will send them back directly.” This took place to fulfil the prophecy: Say to the daughter of Zion: Look your king comes to you: he is humble, he rides on a donkey and on a colt, the foal of a bets of burden.  So the disciples went out and did as Jesus had told them. They brought the donkey and the colt and then they laid their cloaks on their backs and he sat on them. Great crowds of people spread their cloaks on the road, while others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in his path. The crowds who were in front of him and those who followed were all shouting: Hosanna to the Son of David!  Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heavens!  And when they entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil. “Who is this?” people asked, and the crowds answered, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”


Monday of Holy Week

Prayer of the Day

Grant, we pray, almighty God, that, though in our weakness we fail,

we may be revived through the Passion of your Only Begotten Son.

Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. AMEN.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John [12:1-11] – GLORY TO YOU, O LORD

‘She had to keep this scent for the day of my burial’

Six days before the Passover, Jesus went to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom he had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there; Martha waited on them and Lazarus was among those at table. Mary brought in a pound of very costly ointment, pure nard, and with it anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair; the house was full of the scent of the ointment. Then Judas Iscariot – one of his disciples, the man who was to betray him – said, ‘Why wasn’t this ointment sold for three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor?’ He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he was in charge of the common fund and used to help himself to the contributions. So Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone; she had to keep this scent for the day of my burial. You have the poor with you always, you will not always have me.’

Meanwhile a large number of Jews heard that he was there and came not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. Then the chief priests decided to kill Lazarus as well, since it was on his account that many of the Jews were leaving them and believing in Jesus.


Tuesday of Holy Week

Prayer of the Day

Almighty ever-living God,

grant us so to celebrate the mysteries of the Lord’s Passion

that we may merit to receive your pardon.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. AMEN

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John [13:21-33,36-38]GLORY TO YOU, O LORD

‘What you are going to do, do quickly’

While at supper with his disciples, Jesus was troubled in spirit and declared, ‘I tell you most solemnly, one of you will betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another, wondering which he meant. The disciple Jesus loved was reclining next to Jesus; Simon Peter signed to him and said, ‘Ask who it is he means’, so leaning back on Jesus’ breast he said, ‘Who is it, Lord?’ ‘It is the one’ replied Jesus ‘to whom I give the piece of bread that I shall dip in the dish.’ He dipped the piece of bread and gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. At that instant, after Judas had taken the bread, Satan entered him. Jesus then said, ‘What you are going to do, do quickly.’ None of the others at table understood the reason he said this. Since Judas had charge of the common fund, some of them thought Jesus was telling him, ‘Buy what we need for the festival’, or telling him to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the piece of bread he went out. Night had fallen.

When he had gone Jesus said: ‘Now has the Son of Man been glorified, and in him God has been glorified.

If God has been glorified in him, God will in turn glorify him in himself, and will glorify him very soon.

‘My little children, I shall not be with you much longer. You will look for me,

And, as I told the Jews, where I am going, you cannot come.’

Simon Peter said, ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Jesus replied, ‘Where I am going you cannot follow me now; you will follow me later.’ Peter said to him, ‘Why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ ‘Lay down your life for me?’ answered Jesus. ‘I tell you most solemnly, before the cock crows you will have disowned me three times.’


Spy Wednesday

Prayer of the Day

O God, who willed your Son to submit for our sake to the yoke of the Cross,

so that you might drive from us the power of the enemy,

grant us, your servants, to attain the grace of the resurrection.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. AMEN

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew [26:14-25] GLORY TO YOU, O LORD

‘The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will’

One of the Twelve, the man called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you prepared to give me if I hand him over to you?’ They paid him thirty silver pieces, and from that moment he looked for an opportunity to betray him.

Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus to say, ‘Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the passover?’ ‘Go to so-and-so in the city’ he replied ‘and say to him, “The Master says: My time is near. It is at your house that I am keeping Passover with my disciples.”’ The disciples did what Jesus told them and prepared the Passover. When evening came he was at table with the twelve disciples. And while they were eating he said ‘I tell you solemnly, one of you is about to betray me.’ They were greatly distressed and started asking him in turn, ‘Not I, Lord, surely?’ He answered, ‘Someone who has dipped his hand into the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will, but alas for that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! Better for that man if he had never been born!’ Judas, who was to betray him; asked in his turn, ‘Not I, Rabbi, surely?’ ‘They are your own words’ answered Jesus.



Prayer of the Evening

O God, who have called us to participate in this most sacred Supper,

in which your Only Begotten Son, when about to hand himself over to death,

entrusted to the Church a sacrifice new for all eternity, the banquet of his love,

grant, we pray, that we may draw from so great a mystery, the fullness of charity and of life.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. AMEN

The Act of Service – The Washing of the Feet – Mandatum

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John [13:1-15]  GLORY TO YOU, O LORD.

Now he showed how perfect his love was

It was before the festival of the Passover, and Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to the Father. He had always loved those who were his in the world, but now he showed how perfect his love was.

They were at supper, and the devil had already put it into the mind of Judas Iscariot son of Simon, to betray him. Jesus knew that the Father had put everything into his hands, and that he had come from God and was returning to God, and he got up from table, removed his outer garment and, taking a towel, wrapped it round his waist; he then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus answered, ‘At the moment you do not know what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ ‘Never!’ said Peter ‘You shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus replied, ‘If I do not wash you, you can have nothing in common with me.’ ‘Then, Lord,’ said Simon Peter ‘not only my feet, but my hands and my head as well!’ Jesus said, ‘No one who has taken a bath needs washing, he is clean all over. You too are clean, though not all of you are.’ He knew who was going to betray him, that was why he said, ‘though not all of you are.’

When he had washed their feet and put on his clothes again he went back to the table. ‘Do you understand’ he said ‘what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord, and rightly; so I am. If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.’


Antiphon  [Cf. Jn 13:34]

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you, says the Lord.

Antiphon [I Cor 13:13]

R. Let faith, hope and charity, these three, remain among you,

but the greatest of these is charity.

V. Now faith, hope and charity, these three, remain;

but the greatest of these is charity.

R. Let faith, hope and charity, these three, remain among you,

but the greatest of these is charity.

The Institution of the Eucharist

from the first letter of St Paul to the Corinthians [11:23-26]

Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming the death of the Lord

This is what I received from the Lord, and in turn passed on to you: that on the same night that he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.’ In the same way he took the cup after supper, and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.’ Until the Lord comes, therefore, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death.

The word of the Lord. – THANKS BE TO GOD.


Prayer of the Day

O God, who by the Passion of Christ your Son, our Lord,

abolished the death inherited from ancient sin by every succeeding generation,

grant that just as, being conformed to him,

we have borne by the law of nature the image of the man of earth,

so by the sanctification of grace we may bear the image of the Man of heaven.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. AMEN

The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John

This is an abbreviated text. You will find the longer text in the missal or in John 18:1-19:42

It can be read by several people : N=Narrator, = Jesus, C/O=Other people

N. They then took charge of Jesus, and carrying his own cross he went out of the city to the place of the skull or, as it was called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified him with two others, one on either side with Jesus in the middle. Pilate wrote out a notice and had it fixed to the cross; it ran: ‘Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews.’ This notice was read by many of the Jews, because the place where Jesus was crucified was not far from the city, and the writing was in Hebrew, Latin and Greek. So the Jewish chief priests said to Pilate,

C. You should not write ‘King of the Jews,’ but ‘This man said: “I am King of the Jews.”’

N. Pilate answered,

O. What I have written, I have written.

N. When the soldiers had finished crucifying Jesus they took his clothing and divided it into four shares, one for each soldier. His undergarment was seamless, woven in one piece from neck to hem; so they said to one another,

C. Instead of tearing it, let’s throw dice to decide who is to have it.

N. In this way the words of scripture were fulfilled:

 They shared out my clothing among them.m They cast lots for my clothes.

This is exactly what the soldiers did.

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother,

 Woman, this is your son.

N. Then to the disciple he said,

 This is your mother.

N. And from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home.

After this, Jesus knew that everything had now been completed, and to fulfil the scripture perfectly he said:

 I am thirsty.

N. A jar full of vinegar stood there, so putting a sponge soaked in the vinegar on a hyssop stick they held it up to his mouth. After Jesus had taken the vinegar he said,

 It is accomplished;

N. and bowing his head he gave up his spirit. 

Here all kneel and pause for a short time. 

It was Preparation Day, and to prevent the bodies remaining on the cross during the sabbath – since that sabbath was a day of special solemnity – the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken away. Consequently the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with him and then of the other. When they came to Jesus, they found he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water. This is the evidence of one who saw it – trustworthy evidence, and he knows he speaks the truth – and he gives it so that you may believe as well. Because all this happened to fulfil the words of scripture:

 Not one bone of his will be broken;

and again, in another place scripture says:

 They will look on the one whom they have pierced.

After this, Joseph of Arimathaea, who was a disciple of Jesus – though a secret one because he was afraid of the Jews – asked Pilate to let him remove the body of Jesus. Pilate gave permission, so they came and took it away. Nicodemus came as well – the same one who had first come to Jesus at night-time – and he brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, following the Jewish burial custom. At the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in this garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been buried. Since it was the Jewish Day of Preparation and the tomb was near at hand, they laid Jesus there.

The Solemn Intercessions

The full text is in the missal : here you can just take a moment to think about each intention

The full text of the new prayer for this time of pandemic is given

We pray for :

For the Holy Church of God

For the Pope, Francis, Bishop of Rome

For our Bishop N, for all Bishops, Priests, and Deacons of the Church for the whole of the faithful people.

For catechumens – those to be baptised this year

For the unity of Christians

For the Jewish people

For those who do not believe in Christ

For those who do not believe in God

For those in public office

For those in tribulation

For the afflicted in time of pandemic [This text is for this specific cricis]

Let us pray also for all those who suffer the consequences of the current

pandemic, that God the Father may grant health to the sick, strength to those

who care for them, comfort to families and salvation to all the victims who have died.

Prayer in silence.

Almighty ever-living God,

only support of our human weakness,

look with compassion upon the sorrowful condition of your children

who suffer because of this pandemic;

relieve the pain of the sick,

give strength to those who care for them,

welcome into your peace those who have died

and, throughout this time of tribulation,

grant that we may all find comfort in your merciful love.

Through Christ our Lord. AMEN

The Adoration of the Holy Cross

in whatever way is best – hold up a cross/crucifix – for adoration

Behold the wood of the Cross, on which hung the salvation of the world.



We adore your Cross, O Lord,

we praise and glorify your holy Resurrection,

for behold, because of the wood of the tree joy has come to the whole world.

May God have mercy on us and bless us;

may he let his face shed its light upon us and have mercy on us.

We adore your Cross, O Lord,

we praise and glorify your holy Resurrection,

for behold, because of the wood of the tree joy has come to the whole world.


The texts are abbreviated and adapted from the Easter Vigil and should be used  as is felt  appropriate

You need a new candle if possible, and all can have their own candle if appropriate.

The Easter Candle

On this most sacred night,

in which our Lord Jesus Christ passed over from death to life,

the Church calls us to come together to watch and pray.

We shall have the sure hope of sharing Christ’s triumph over death and living with him in God.

These signs can be made on the candle as a priest does at the Easter Vigil

First you make the sign of the Cross on the candle. [It could be traced with a knife or a candle pain]

Christ yesterday and today, the Beginning and the End,

the Alpha, and the Omega. 

Secondly you trace the date of this year – 2020

All time belongs to him;  and all the ages. 

To him be glory and power through every age and for ever. Amen. 

You light your Easter Candle saying:

May the light of Christ rising in glory

dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.

The Light of Christ. THANKS BE TO GOD.

If others have a candle/night light you now light them.

The Easter Proclamation (Exsultet) –

This is much abbreviated. You could look at the full text or sing a Resurrecton hymn in its place.

Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven, exult, let Angel ministers of God exult, let the trumpet of salvation sound aloud our mighty King’s triumph!

Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her, ablaze with light from her eternal King, let all corners of the earth be glad, knowing an end to gloom and darkness. O truly blessed night, worthy alone to know the time and hour when Christ rose from the underworld!

Therefore, O Lord, we pray you that this candle, may persevere undimmed, to overcome the darkness of this night.

May this flame be found still burning by the Morning Star: the one Morning Star who never sets, Christ your Son, who, coming back from death’s domain, has shed his peaceful light on humanity, and lives and reigns for ever and ever. AMEN

The Easter Gospel – we greet this by singing Alleluia for the first time since Lent began


A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew [28:1-10] – GLORY TO YOU, O LORD.

He has risen from the dead and now he is going before you into Galilee

After the sabbath, and towards dawn on the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala and the other Mary went to visit the sepulchre. And all at once there was a violent earthquake, for the angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled away the stone and sat on it. His face was like lightning, his robe white as snow. The guards were so shaken, so frightened of him, that they were like dead men. But the angel spoke; and he said to the women, ‘There is no need for you to be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said he would. Come and see the place where he lay, then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has risen from the dead and now he is going before you to Galilee; it is there you will see him.” Now I have told you.’ Filled with awe and great joy the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell the disciples.

And there, coming to meet them, was Jesus. ‘Greetings’ he said. And the women came up to him and, falling down before him, clasped his feet. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; they will see me there.’

The Gospel of the Lord – PRAISE TO YOU, LORD JESUS CHRIST.

Remembering our Baptism

There can be a bowl of water if it is appropriate

Through  the Paschal Mystery we have been buried with Christ in Baptism, so that we may walk with him in newness of life.

And so, now that our Lenten observance is concluded, let us renew the promises of Holy Baptism, by which we once renounced Satan and his works and promised to serve God in the holy Catholic Church.

And so I ask you:

Do you renounce sin,

so as to live in the freedom of the children of God? I do.

Do you renounce the lure of evil,

so that sin may have no mastery over you? I do.

Do you renounce Satan,

the author and prince of sin? I do.

Do you believe in God,

the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth? I do.

Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,

who was born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered death and was buried,

rose again from the dead

and is seated at the right hand of the Father? I do.

Do you believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy Catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and life everlasting? I do.

May almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who has given us new birth by water and the Holy Spirit

and bestowed on us forgiveness of our sins, keep us by his grace,

in Christ Jesus our Lord, for eternal life. AMEN

The Easter Blessing

May almighty God bless us through today’s Easter Solemnity

and, in his compassion, defend us from every assault of sin. AMEN

And may he, who restores us to eternal life in the Resurrection of his Only Begotten, endow us with the prize of immortality.  AMEN

Now that the days of the Lord’s Passion have drawn to a close,

may we who celebrate the gladness of the Paschal Feast

come with Christ’s help, and exulting in spirit,

to those feasts that are celebrated in eternal joy. AMEN

And may the blessing of almighty God,

the Father, and the Son,  and the Holy Spirit,

come down on us and remain with us for ever. AMEN