Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Ash Wednesday Activities


Today we skipped our "normal" school routine and spent the morning doing various activities to mark the beginning of Lent. Here's a photo of the kids coloring our "Alleluia" banner which has been buried in a snowdrift in our front yard. Throughout the Lenten season, we refrain from using the praise "Alleluia". Our banner will be dug out from the snow (which will likely still be around considering our early Easter) on Easter Sunday.

Pretzels are a traditional Lenten bread as they are twisted to look like praying hands (arms crossed over a chest with hands on shoulders). We read the story of two monks who made this traditional bread for the village people and then made our own pretzel dough and twisted them into their shapes. The recipe we used made a pretty dry dough, so the ropes were difficult to make and twist, but we did our best. After about five or six, we resorted to making "pretzel patties." The kids ate these pretzels and drank water for our light Ash Wednesday lunch. (I did offer cheese as well, but Clara declined as it was more fun that way.)
Here's Clara with her Lenten pretzel.

Aidan proudly displays his pretzel (while Max is annoyed in the background)

And Ella has already started taking bites (even before prayer-gasp!)

Max is relieved to finally have some pretzel for himself. Yummy!

We also brought out our "crown of thorns" and read the Five Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. This Lenten season, when someone in the family makes a sacrifice or does a special good deed, he or she will take one of the thorns out of the crown. We considered requiring that the kids insert a thorn back in the crown every time they misbehave, but we thought that was a little much considering they haven't reached the age of reason :-)

We intended to take the entire family to Ash Wednesday Mass this evening, but Ella got a stomach bug right before we were about to leave. Brendan took Aidan to Mass and the little guy was very proud of his ashes. Clara stayed home with me and thank goodness she did. She earned several opportunities to remove thorns from the crown while I scrubbed floors, loaded laundry, and RE-bathed Max who decided that crawling through Eleanor's various "piles" would be a fun idea. Luckily, Ella is just as happy to hear a story from Clara as she is from me. I also had plenty of time to reflect during these evening moments as I remembered the story of St. Faustina's potatoes turning into roses for the Lord. And as Brendan was kind enough to point out when I once mentioned that cleaning vomit was not my favorite part of motherhood, "This is my Mother Teresa-hood."

God's blessings to you this holy season.


Allison Koop said...

Thanks Molly! I miss those little guys...

daisy said...

Love the burial of the Alleluia in the snow drift--very clever! Also really like the crown of thorns--is that your original idea? Looks like toothpicks, but what did you make your wreath out of?

Molly Koop said...

I bought the wreath at Michael's craft store for 49 cents! The thorns are toothpicks (about 60 of them). I have seen various versions of this idea and used those variations to come up with this project for our family. It has been a blessing to see the children make little sacrifices for one another--and they're so proud when they're able to remove a thron from the crown.
The "Alleluia" banner idea is from our parish's Family Formation program. It's a catechesis program centered on the family. We have three to four lessons per month to do at home and once per month the kids go to a more traditional classroom while the parents hear a teaching. Brendan was actually the speaker at our February session for the parents. He did a fabulous talk on Evangelization. The lessons are incredibly solid and you can find more information at There are many, many parishes around the US and Canada that also use the program as well as several "distance families." (All lessons, artwork, etc. have been created by parishioners and staff at St Paul's and follow the liturgical cycle.) I hope to do a post on the program soon, but I'm waiting for the Family Formation office at the parish to be ready for the possible increase in requests. If you're interested, I can make sure you get the information you need. Family Formation has truly blessed our family! Thanks for your comment, Daisy!

daisy said...

Thanks, Molly, for the info! I did check out the website, and will look forward to a post on it...I also passed this along to my sister who has two young children...

You really are blessed to have such a great parish!