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eschuetter
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Posted: April 24 2006 at 3:30pm | IP Logged Quote eschuetter

Ladies, I'm wondering what your Holy Week (specifically Good Friday and Holy Saturday) looked like. Why?

Well, I've been reflecting on the family traditions of my childhood and I'm trying to work out what will be the traditions of my family (me with dh and dc).

Our Holy Week this week was (imho) too busy, too harried, too much "doing" -- and not enough "being"
KWIM?

A bit of background, I grew up in a family where mom and dad were raised in traditional Catholic and ethnic (in our case Polish/Slovak) neighborhood. Their childhoods were full of ethnic and Catholic traditions... so interwoven that they were not distinguished from everyday life (sounds wonderful, huh?)

Well, some of those traditions carried into my childhood and as a child I didn't pay much attention or think they were very important. In spite of that, the traditions did become engrained in my psyche... because they are giving me much to reflect upon this week!

What kind of things?

Well, things like... keeping Noon-3pm sacred on Good Friday -- attending service at Church and the atmosphere in our home was somber during those hours if were not at Church -- no TV, no music, no rowdy play... we usually just read.

Holy Saturday had a similar tone. It was a day of preparation for Easter Sunday. There were many traditional foods to prepare and bake. And food had to be taken to be blessed (an old Polish tradition that I simply can't replicate because there are no parishes in this new city I live in that have this service... but I think I have never looked city-wide... I just may have to do that.) Anyway, anything not related to preparing for our Easter celebration was not done.

We never celebrated until Easter Sunday – so much so that having "Easter" dinner early with my dh family because his brother and his wife will be traveling on Easter weekend is strange to me. (but understandable and I happily accommodate it ... since there are holidays that WE are the traveling family).

But things like the community Easter Egg hunt and such - that were usually offered on the Saturday of Palm Sunday or even Holy Saturday - were not even considered... it was Holy Week. (After all there are 50 days of Easter - I've often thought of hosting an Easter Egg Hunt AFTER Easter Sunday since we have so many Easter days... but you have to admit, the non-Catholics would really wonder )

So this year, Good Friday passed with out attending service - my youngest was napping. Holy Saturday we attended a friend's Easter brunch -- it was such fun to see friends and the kids had a blast, but I couldn't shake this feeling that I was "out of sorts"... and after a week's worth of reflecting, here I am.

My dh sort of summed it up... "what is Easter? Is it a fun day for the kids?" My quick answer was, "Easter is the holiest feast of the year." I don't want to make it "not fun" but the "fun" is not the focus for me.

Until this week I don't think I realized how much my family's Easter traditions affected me - or taught me. I'm not even sure my folks realize how Catholic the traditions really are - they are just how my family's always done things. I want my kids to learn these things through osmosis as I did - in our domestic church.

Anyway, reflecting back on this past preparation for Easter, I am trying to decide what NEXT year will look like. Maybe I'm just looking for validation? (Or a way to go back to the old-Polish neighborhood with the sandstone Church down the street )

Please share your routines/rituals (or lack there of, if that is the case...)... perhaps we can inspire each other.

Many thanks for reading this far and I look forward to your replies,
Erica

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JennGM
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Posted: April 24 2006 at 6:46pm | IP Logged Quote JennGM

Erica,

I don't have the ethnic background as you do, but I grew up with similar Holy Week experiences. We are "busy" with our family traditions...but sometimes doing them you lose the joy.

Growing up we had our "Passover meal" with lamb and such on Holy Thursday, foot washing, then the Mass of the Lord's Supper and time in front of Jesus in the Altar of Repose. Some years we also fit in the Mass of the Chrism.

Good Friday was subdued, no music, no TV, quiet play and cleaning until 12:00, then 12-3 marked with prayer and reading, either at home when younger or at church in later years. Then 3:00 services on Good Friday, then home.

Holy Saturday was baking, egg decorating (BIG tradition, lasting for hours), decorating the home, then getting ready for the Easter Vigil.

Easter Sunday had the special breakfast, possibly a second Mass, then the family together, Easter Egg Hunt and dinner.

While I love our traditions, it was hard as I got older to realize how "different" we were, and didn't fit into everyone else's timeframe of Easter celebration. We don't decorate for Easter until Holy Saturday....my mil is taking down her decorations the same weekend, as they have been up all Lent.

My father was in the seminary for a few years, and he talks about (and I've heard from others with similar experiences) that Easter Monday was the biggest HOLIday of the year. Easter was the highest HOLYday, but Easter Monday they actually got to relax and celebrate.

When I would get my Spring Break during Holy Week, I'd the reminders from my mother that we couldn't go out with friends and do things because it was Holy Week. Back then it was a real drag.

As my child is only a preschooler, I haven't firmed up our celebrations. I'm working out a balance...and more time to just soak in and enjoy the special time....to apply a little of CGS in our home.... But I just wanted you to know, you're not alone!

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eschuetter
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Posted: April 24 2006 at 8:02pm | IP Logged Quote eschuetter

Jenn - thanks for your reply.

It's funny - growing up I was surrounded by family and other families that did much the same as we (and you) did. Its only now as an adult (and as a parent) that I am so deeply aware that so many do things SO differently. I know I'm not alone - but a reminder in print never hurt.

Like you, my oldest is only a preschooler so I still am trying to work out what our family celebrations will look like.

I hope to start using some CGS in our home as you mentioned and I hope that you post your thoughts as your family traditions take shape -- I enjoy learning from this community -- and will do my best to share my ideas as well.

Thanks again!
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momwise
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Posted: April 24 2006 at 10:40pm | IP Logged Quote momwise

Hi Erica,

I remember having some traditions early on as a cradle Catholic but by the time I was a teenager we didn't observe anything but Sunday Mass. I didn't have Catholic traditions with my family until my oldest child was about 12. Then I pretty much had to copy them from books because I didn't know anyone else who had any. That was 12 years ago and everything we do now is pretty well ingrained, plus I add more or have a few things I change from year to year.

We always observe a very subdued Good Friday, with silence as much as possible from 12-3 and traditional services at Church. I bought the Passion for Children CD and they listened to that and drew during the afternoon, with the older dc reading quietly.

BC (before conversion)we always went to egg hunts on Holy Sat., etc. but I haven't been since and I've always explained to the kids it wouldn't be any fun to celebrate Easter before Easter anyway. We spend Holy Sat. cooking, ironing, picking up last minute items at the store and dd and I paint our nails. All of this is not always easy with dh and the extended family not on board but so far I haven't heard any complaints from the dc.

Saturday afternoon or night we color eggs depending on whether we're going to the Vigil Mass (we never do with babies or toddlers). We hide baskets for the dc to find on Easter morning and we have dinner with family Sunday afternoon and the Easter egg hunt.

We continue to celebrate Easter Mon. We never have school Easter week. We feast all week, go swimming, to the movies, library visits, listen to more joyous music, etc., etc.

Good Fri and Holy Sat. are very powerful symbols for children growing up if observed correctly. That's not to say things can't be changed and traditions tweaked when we start our own families, but I'd feel a lot like you do if I had to change things a lot on those days.

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Posted: April 24 2006 at 10:58pm | IP Logged Quote alicegunther

Thank you so much for beginning this thread, Erica. It is almost midnight, but I hope to return and read even more responses here tomorrow.

You mentioned having an Easter Egg hunt after Easter, and I just wanted to tell you this is a great idea. My dear friend Helen (also a member of this board) often does this for the children in our local homeschooling group, and I've hosted post-Easter egg hunts at our house from time to time. Weather permitting, our local group will celebrate Easter here this week. It really is a beautiful idea to hold these celebrations after Easter Sunday. After all, this is Easter season!

I grew up in an Irish Catholic ethnic community not unlike the Polish one you mention in your post, and I think one of the beauties of home education is that we are able to keep those meaningful traditions of our childhood, and even our parent's childhoods, from dying out for our children. We spent a lot of time at church during Holy Week because the girls were in five performances of The Passion Play, but one of the loveliest moments was the Holy Thursday procession of the Eucharist from the church to the neighboring chapel. There is something so deeply moving about an outdoor procession with many people at night. This is the kind of old tradition that needs to be kept alive.

Thanks again for bringing up this subject.

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Posted: April 25 2006 at 5:51am | IP Logged Quote MichelleW

Well, I can tell you what we did this year. I have spent the past four weeks naseous and vomiting so we did only the things that we could do.

Palm Sunday: Fabulous celebration at church. We came home and re-enacted the Triumphal entry with dh being the donkey and the kids taking turns being Jesus and being the crowd. So fun!!

Wednesday: Passover meal.

Thursday: Foot washing at home. I love doing this. It is such a warm and beautiful way to interact with the children especially, but also between dh and I and the events of Passion Week.

Friday: We did Alice's beautiful Lenten Tea Part 2. We had done Part one earlier in the Lenten season. I think next year we might save Part 1 for Thursday and do Part 2 again on Good Friday. Anyway, it was simple to pull together and very meaningful. Our tea ended at 3 pm and everyone went to their beds to either pray, rest, read or sleep for 1 hour.

Saturday: Very subdued. I didn't even cook. I warmed soup for dinner and did pull together a potato salad, but that's it. Oh, I put a ham in the crockpot just before bed.

Easter Sunday: We had guests after church, but the ham cooked itself and the asparagus steamed in 5 minutes, so it was all about celebration. We colored Easter eggs with our guests on Easter Sunday. We skipped the hunt entirely this year because it snowed.

Next year I hope to do Alice's Easter Tea on Easter Monday.

That's it. We didn't even do Easter baskets, dh and I did not grow up with them and so we often don't even think about it, though I think I would like to add this tradition in a small way in years to come. Maybe next year when I am not quite so .
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Sarah
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Posted: April 25 2006 at 11:51am | IP Logged Quote Sarah

eschuetter wrote:

Holy Saturday we attended a friend's Easter brunch --


I would simply avoid these types of things. I always feel like we are dropping out of the culture when we avoid things but in the end, it gives a great message to the kids. However, I don't mean drop out of everything--choose wisely, because some things aren't a big deal, and its easy to become paranoid.

eschuetter wrote:

My dh sort of summed it up... "what is Easter? Is it a fun day for the kids?" My quick answer was, "Easter is the holiest feast of the year." I don't want to make it "not fun" but the "fun" is not the focus for me.


Easter should be fun, especially for younger ones.

In my opinion, you SHOULD incorporate your childhood celebrations. It sounds wonderful and you are soooo lucky to have them. My memories are all secular, since my parents were converts, we had no religious emphasis on Easter.

Don't worry about not being able to attend all the Triduum liturgy--attendwhat you can, extend the effort, but don't beat yourself up if little ones prevent you from attending. Its simpoly not your season. I sent the older ones with Dad.

Easter Monday Hunts are great! We've done it and loved it--with a group of kids, outdoors.

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eschuetter
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Posted: April 25 2006 at 12:44pm | IP Logged Quote eschuetter

Thanks, Sarah.

Don't get me wrong - Easter as a kid was fun, too.
(and I want it to be fun for my kids, too.... but I don't want to miss the teaching moments that fill Holy Week - and part of the teaching is that it is a somber time).

As a kid, there were Easter baskets and eggs to be found and egg decorating to be done. I loved to help mom with the baking... still do when we are in the same city We always got kites in our Easter baskets - its a perfect time of year to go fly a kite.

Those memories make me smile...

Like JennGM said, I want to find a balance (actually I think my parents did pretty good job of it) between the somber tone and time for reflection and the joyous season that Easter is. I'm still trying to work it out. Right now, Easter Sunday still seems like it should be the "pivot" where we turn from reflection to rejoicing...I need to work out what that means to my family.

Thanks to you all for reflecting out loud on all of this with me

Erica

p.s. I'm not too worried about Triduum services yet. My last Easter Vigil was when dh joined the church before we got married. I look forward to going again - but right now, ds and nursling just don't allow it. I agree - to everything a season. On that note, what is the right age to expect a child to sit through a three-hour Vigil Mass? My oldest is just 4 and I know he's not ready. When did you start taking your kids - or sending them with dh (that would be our mode - since nursling (not yet 2yo) would NEVER last.
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Sarah
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Posted: April 25 2006 at 1:45pm | IP Logged Quote Sarah

eschuetter wrote:
When did you start taking your kids - or sending them with dh (that would be our mode - since nursling (not yet 2yo) would NEVER last.


My 9 (almost 10yo) is interested in all the liturgies because now he is an altar boy. He does a really good job. The Good Friday Service was four hours by the time they did Stations, the seminarians sung Liturgy of the Hours, and then the GF Service. We all went to Stations and then ds9 stayed on with Dad.

We don't do Easter Vigil yet. At our Latin Mass "parish" the Mass went until nearly 2am. None of my children, nor us as tired parents with little ones are ready for that. I figure when the kids are teenagers--or oldest ds may push Dad to go earlier since he LOVES things like that. He asks every year. However, since he didn't go do the Vigil he got to be acolyte #1 for Easter morning Mass--a big deal for him. He got to ring the bells during the Consecration and he was so happy--he said "I got to ring the bells on Easter!" (Bells on Easter are neat since the bells sat silent from Holy Thursday on).

Anyway, I'm getting way off topic. I would say that as a child gets ready for his/her 1st Communion he is getting ready for some of these longer liturgies.

However, if YOU are up to it with little ones, bring them along. There are lots of families who do the Vigil and have the kids sleep/play qiuetly in the pew. I personally don't have the energy for it the next day--cooking a huge feast, Easter egg hiding, getting Easter outfits ready, etc,.

We usually do Holy Thurs with little ones, but it just wasn't possible this year.

I guess it just depends on the kid and the family. Looking back, my oldest children went to al lot more than these little ones do--I'm more run down now.



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Posted: April 25 2006 at 3:28pm | IP Logged Quote stacykay

Sarah wrote:
[QUOTE=eschuetter]
Holy Saturday we attended a friend's Easter brunch --


I know how you feel. My sister's in-law's decided to "celebrate" Easter on Holy Saturday, because her bils' wives wanted to spend Easter with their families. She decided not to go, but felt very misunderstood.
We (and I don't know why- possibly programmed from years of tv! ) always watch "The Ten Commandments" the Friday and Saturday before Palm Sunday (too much for the kiddies to watch in one evening.) Oh, and the very young ones watch "The Prince of Egypt."
Palm Sunday, we usually go out for brunch (not something typical for us- Sundays are usually apple pancakes.)
We try to follow the course of the week in   the Golden Children's Bible, or a similar Catholic children's Bible.
I try to never miss Holy Thursday (barring sick children or pregnancy complications, etc.) For me, this was a pivotal Mass, before I became Catholic (Easter Vigil, 1983.) It was here that I understood that Jesus really was present in the Holy Eucharist.
The rest of the week is similar to what you all do. We do go on Holy Saturday, for the blessing of the food. Here in the Detroit diocese, nearly every church offers it, around 1 in the afternoon. At some parishes, it seems almost to be a competition as to who has the most elaborately decorated basket. It gets a bit way overdone.
One of my friend's (Polish) travels to different churches after Mass on ?Holy Thursday? or Good Friday?
I don't know the origin of that practice.
Something we do, but not every year, is make the Resurrection cookies.
Next year we are planning on going to Easter Mass at one of the "old" churches in Detroit. Our Easter Mass at our local parish was low-key, not unlike any other Sunday, and we all were left wanting for more.
God Bless,
Stacy in MI
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Posted: April 26 2006 at 9:53am | IP Logged Quote abcmommy

Its great to continue family traditions and to develope new ones with your family.

Our family Easter tradition includes a lot of travel right now. We travel Friday to get to a friends home. On Sat. we attend the aforementioned Easter brunch. :) And on Sunday we went to church, another brunch and then travelled home. Saturday was the only day we had together, really. And regardless of Christ's resurrection not happening til the next day, I wanted to enjoy my friends. If that makes me selfish and irreverant, well, I'll take it.

Unfortunately bc of worldly things like the workweek interfering there isnt any other way to work things for us. Dropping out of the tradition isnt an option for us bc we enjoy it too much and bc there simply isnt a feasible way to go about doing it otherwise and still celebrating Easter sunday with our loved ones!

you have to do what is best for your family. its best to try to respect other people's traditions too, tho and not look down your nose at them or criticize them for being irreverant-esp on a public board when you know they (and their other guests) will read it. Bc that only results in hurt feelings.
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eschuetter
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Posted: April 26 2006 at 11:28am | IP Logged Quote eschuetter

Thank you all for your kind and thoughtful replies.

I will continue to pray about what is best for my family.

I regret mentioning my friend's gathering and the hurt feelings which resulted. I meant no ill-will toward anyone. It was a mistake for which I've sought forgiveness privately. At the same time, I'll take my "public" lumps - they are not unwarranted.

My deepest aplogies to all I've offended.
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Posted: April 26 2006 at 11:42am | IP Logged Quote cathhomeschool

abcmommy wrote:
its best to try to respect other people's traditions too, tho and not look down your nose at them or criticize them for being irreverant-esp on a public board when you know they (and their other guests) will read it. Bc that only results in hurt feelings.


Hello abcmommy! I will remind you of what one of the board moderators said on the LifeTeen thread. Angie writes:

Angie Mc wrote:
"Tone" is a difficult thing to discern through online communication as I know you all know from experience. The good news is that this board has a history of assuming good intent and a reputation for charitable dialogue.


I have read and reread this thread, and do not see that anyone has turned down their nose or criticized or called anyone irreverant. I do not see how you could have felt criticized, since you had yet to post on this thread. However, if you did, then I encourage you to turn to Angie's words. We all try to be honest AND charitable here. Again, I ask that you assume good intent of other posters. We are here to share our honest opinions and experiences in an effort to grow in holiness and a deeper understanding of our Catholic faith. We seek to encourage -- and challenge -- each other to live our faith more fully. For it is by this encouragement and challenge that we can grow closer to God. None of us should be content to remain where we are. We all seek to grow. We are all on this road travelling together, so we must assume that we're here to help each other along the way, not to step on each other. Please assume the best, not the worst of people here. Thanks!

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Posted: April 26 2006 at 11:52am | IP Logged Quote Jen L.

I feel the need to post: This thread has been a blessing to me. I need the help of this board and the incredible women here to get me to more intentional about my (and my family's) "walk".

Erica, you were hoping for us to inspire each other.
eschuetter wrote:
Please share your routines/rituals (or lack there of, if that is the case...)... perhaps we can inspire each other.

Your hopes have been brought to fruition. I have been inspired, and I didn't even "join in the discussion" but simply read.

Janette, I couldn't agree with you more. (I am just incapable of articulating it myself!)

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Posted: April 26 2006 at 12:10pm | IP Logged Quote cathhomeschool

Erica,

What a beautiful childhood you had! I cannot imagine a better example of the “atmosphere” that Charlotte Mason recommends – one in which learning (and what is more important than learning and absorbing The Faith?) is as natural and seamless as breathing. What an inspiration!

Well, we are not Polish, but this year we studied Pope John Paul II during much of Lent, so we had a Polish Easter. By “coincidence,” our parish (not Polish) had the Blessing of the Easter Baskets on Holy Saturday. So Friday evening and Saturday morning we prepared our foods and basket. After the children went to bed Saturday night, I removed the “red” from the house (there for Holy Week) and replaced it with white (tablecloth, ribbons around statues and crosses, etc). I also decorated the kitchen/dining area with Easter eggs (some were pysanky that dc made last year). Easter morning we went to Mass and had a small chocolate bunny hunt inside the house. We had a Polish dinner with some very good friends of ours (not Polish either).   Last weekend we went to an Easter party thrown by some Catholic friends. They began the tradition 3 years ago of throwing an Easter egg hunt/pot luck dinner party a week or two after Easter Sunday. Like last year, we will spend the Easter season decorating eggs (both wooden and real) with crayon, marker, and different dyes. Last year, we threw a party on Pentecost (with praise and worship singing and dinner) and plan to make that a tradition, though we cannot this year. We also tried to attend Daily Mass every day of Holy Week. We missed one day, but attending all the other days made a big difference. I really thought that the kids would complain, because we’ve largely gotten out of the habit of Daily Mass, but they didn’t! They really felt it appropriate.

Before last year, we didn’t really have any Easter traditions other than attending Mass on Holy Thursday and Stations and the Passion on Good Friday. These were the only “traditions” that I experienced growing up, so they were all I knew. It was because of the discussions on this board last Lent that I really started evaluating our lack of tradition and thought just how wonderful everyone else’s plans were – a special dinner that they had “every” Easter, lamb cakes, special songs and verses that were repeated to each other throughout the season – just celebrating Easter as a season instead of as a day was something that we really didn’t do.

I feel that celebrating the entire Easter season takes some of the (my, really) pressure off of Easter “day” too. I am thrilled that we can continue to add to the decorations as we make them, and that special foods (and all that candy that the kids want!) can be spread throughout the season. We can really celebrate in so many more ways when we have so long to celebrate!   

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Posted: April 26 2006 at 12:32pm | IP Logged Quote mary

it's my easter brunch that was attended and i did feel uncomfortable with the original post as it mentioned my event specifically. to be sure that it wasn't just me over-reacting, i read it to my dh as well and he felt as i did. it bothered me enough to speak to my friend personally and i had chosen not to post on this thread about my feelings. perhaps it's easier to see offense when it's your event that is mentioned in a post by a rlf (and not in a positive light), rather than it being pple you only 'know' online.   is it uncharitable to say when a post hurts your feelings?

i so agree that tone and intent are difficult to ascertain online, and that is why i think we should all strive in both directions to avoid offense - both in posting of something that our friends will read and may find hurtful, and in looking for issues when none are intended.

i have grown so much in the year plus that i have posted at this board and i'm grateful to have a place to explore these issues. i have greatly enjoyed this board and recommended it to abcmommy long ago and to erica recently. i enjoy reading their thoughts on many issues and value the opinions of the posters on this board.

I could not agree with this more:
"We seek to encourage -- and challenge -- each other to live our faith more fully. For it is by this encouragement and challenge that we can grow closer to God. None of us should be content to remain where we are. We all seek to grow. We are all on this road travelling together, so we must assume that we're here to help each other along the way, not to step on each other."



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Posted: April 26 2006 at 12:56pm | IP Logged Quote cathhomeschool

mary wrote:
is it uncharitable to say when a post hurts your feelings?

i so agree that tone and intent are difficult to ascertain online, and that is why i think we should all strive in both directions to avoid offense - both in posting of something that our friends will read and may find hurtful, and in looking for issues when none are intended.


Mary, I'm sorry that you were hurt, and no, I do not think it uncharitable to say when a post is hurtful to you. Yes, it is important for all of us to try our best to both avoid offending and try not to be offended. We are a very large and yet very small community here. I understand the difficulty here on all sides. Erica seems to be honestly searching for answers, and if I were in your position, I would probably have felt a little hurt too. Again, this is why charity is SO important. We are all human here and are all learning as we go, and occasionally step on toes unintentionally. I think it's wonderful that you spoke to her about your feelings -- This is what friends must do. True friendship demands this openness and an attempt on both sides to understand and empathise with the other.

It is not your feelings or reaction at all that I am calling into question here. Nor am I questioning the original post. My comments were directed at abcmommy's post, which seemed very much out of context and unexplainable. Perhaps she should have pm'd Erica instead of addressing the whole board if she felt that she must address this topic? This would seem more appropriate and warranted in light of the fact that no one was criticized or looked down upon here.

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mary
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Posted: April 26 2006 at 1:35pm | IP Logged Quote mary

janette, thank you for your understanding and i'm sorry to have somehow been the cause of personal angst on the board.   abcmommy has been like a sister to me for many years and i love her dearly. i regret that in any way she appears inappropriate in this thread, because that is clearly my fault. i know that erica is honestly searching for answers and i think this is a wonderful topic and look forward to reading the many ways in which you all celebrate holy week/easter, without any more mention of my easter brunch.
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Posted: April 26 2006 at 2:09pm | IP Logged Quote momwise

cathhomeschool wrote:
Last weekend we went to an Easter party thrown by some Catholic friends. They began the tradition 3 years ago of throwing an Easter egg hunt/pot luck dinner party a week or two after Easter Sunday.


Bravo Janette!! Sometimes I'm glad of the opportunity to "make up" my own traditions as I feel if I had them set in stone by the time I grew up I may not feel free to add/subtract from all the wonderful things I hear about. Janette, Erica, and all....isn't it wonderful to have the whole seasons during the year that are part of the fullness of the faith? It really does free us emotionally, physically and mentally to celebrate beyond that one holiday the rest of the world limits us to!

cathhomeschool wrote:
Last year, we threw a party on Pentecost (with praise and worship singing and dinner) and plan to make that a tradition, though we cannot this year.


That's another tradition we started also. Pentecost is such an important Holy day and it seems such a shame for most of the rest of the world to let it pass by. As well, it is so good to mark the end of a season and the beginning of another with food, prayer, friends, etc.



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Posted: April 26 2006 at 2:20pm | IP Logged Quote eschuetter

I hadn't thought about Pentecost celebrations in a while... and it IS the birthday of the Church.

We may just have to bake a birthday cake and top it with tongues of fire (on candles!) this year.

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