All About Kids
An Easy Holy Week Guide For Kids and Parents
When Holy Week traditions get confusing for us and our kids, here’s what we can do to observe Holy Week.
Holy Week can be a confusing affair for our kids. Sometimes, we’re not sure if they should abstain, fast, or do some religious practices. Fasting and abstaining at a young age might negatively impact their health. Asking them to do certain religious practices might send the wrong message. So, here’s our guide on how kids can observe Holy Week.
1. Abstain meat only on Fridays and specific Holy Week events
Abstaining on Holy Week can get confusing as to when our kids should start. However, kids below 14 years old have a free pass to not abstain. On the other hand, those who are 14 and above are encouraged to observe. However, this doesn’t apply to kids who have underlying health issues that make them unable to abstain from meat. Kids who are allergic to gluten or have some issues processing vegetables or are severely anemic have no need to observe being meat-free on Holy Week.
2. Kids don’t need to fast during Holy Week
Fasting during Holy Week is meant only for people who are 18 to 59 years old. Kids have faster metabolisms which means depriving them of food will really impact their day. They’ll have difficulty concentrating on school work and might even have tantrums (among other things) if they don’t have the proper amount of food in their system. If the kids are really insistent on fasting, make sure their meals are planned to keep them sustained for the whole day.
3. Nursing and pregnant moms are exempted from abstinence and fasting
Fasting and abstaining during Holy Week definitely don’t apply to expectant or new moms because their bodies need it! They’re supporting two people and the last thing they need is a cut from their food supply. The Church adjusted its laws to make it clear that expectant or nursing moms get a free pass this Lenten Season and Holy Week for abstinence and fasting.
4. Eggs and milk are still on the Holy Week menu
Paul VI clearly states in the Paenitemini: “The law of abstinence forbids the use of meat, but not of eggs, the products of milk or condiments made of animal fat” (III., 1)”. So, we can still enjoy eggs and milk as our daily source of protein and calcium. Kids can still enjoy their favorite cheese omelet in the morning during Holy Week. But there’s no bacon. Maybe some tofu bacon instead to add some extra crisp?
5. Validity of an online mass: depends on the parish
Some parishes are not too keen on online masses during Holy Week but some people get free passes especially if they’re immunocompromised. During the pandemic, virtual masses for baptisms, funerals, and even weddings became a thing due to the forbidding of mass gatherings. While the majority of the parishes insist on physical attendance, it’s best to consult with a priest, especially if going out still causes any form of anxiety due to COVID-19.
Holy Week traditions can be confusing for our kids
The Holy Week guidelines and traditions can be a bit confusing for our kids. Sometimes, we’re not sure how our kids can participate especially if we want to enhance their relationship with God. But the important part about observing Holy Week and Lent is that we’re doing it to celebrate our relationship with God and family. Consider it also as a time to take a step back and see what we’ve achieved so far especially after being burned out for so long.