I would love to start this post off with a great story about that disastrous time I tried to bring the kids to soup and stations… but I don’t have one. I don’t have one because for a long time I have not been brave enough to drag my kids down to the church hungry, and at bedtime, to eat dinner when they are usually getting in PJs and to pray in a darkish church long past the kids’ “lights out” time.

I remember doing the stations as a child and I have great memories of it… but those memories are also when I was over the age of seven. For my crew of five under the age of eight… Soup and Stations at the church is not going to happen this year.  One night this Lent my husband might take the two oldest as a special treat… but for the most part it is not going to happen.

Tonight we will be doing our own Domestic Church version of Soup and Stations.  The Holy Heroes Stations of the Cross CD is truly amazing. I know that I am here on the Holy Heroes Blog saying this, but I wold not type it if it were not true. I’m kind of an audio snob… if that is even a thing… but the Holy Heroes Stations of the Cross is a joy to listen to. 

Let me walk you through it. 

The Holy Heroes Stations of the Cross Audio CD is led by children. I have to admit that last year I was very wary of it (Shhhh… don’t tell the Holy Heroes Family!) I just was not sure how the stations would go over with my kids. Would they understand it? Would they be scared? I could not have been more surprised. 

My kids loved it. And they “got it” maybe more than me. Every station has a reflection to think about and it is applicable to both the parents and the children. The traditional prayers are in there and the whole experience is really moving and thought provoking. I got all of my kids a booklet to help them follow along. My kids liked the motion of genuflecting before each station. They were very engaged.

This year (I’m a bit behind and maybe making a trip to Hobby Lobby today) but I want to make the little candles with the Stations of the Cross on them. If you don’t know what I am talking about check out Catholic Icing’s tutorial: http://www.catholicicing.com/diy-candle-stations-of-cross/.

Traditions in our home are every important. Traditions help our families to internalize the faith. They help us to understand that our faith is not something that we do. It is something that we are. Think back to the traditions you shared as a kid – those memories are deep rooted and there for good. We want to give our kids these experiences of the faith in a deep and lasting way. This is why I love the idea of the Stations of the Cross in the home. As we walk with the Lord, as we imagine each step, we actually step into Jerusalem and we internalize the reality of our salvation.

How to host a Domestic Church Soup and Stations 

  1. First, you have to get the Stations of the Cross by Holy Heroes… sorry for the shameless plug but there it is and it is so very worth it! Take it from this mom of five, or just just read all the reviews from other moms: this CD is a keeper.
  2.  Invite one other family or not. The point here is to have a special time of prayer with your children, to lead them gently to the foot of the cross, to love the Lord, and to keep him company as a family. If having another family over will make it stressful because you feel you have to clean, etc. then don’t invite anyone over. Your family is special enough and is the Domestic Church. 
  3. Make some yummy soup (if you have to buy cans of soup I won’t tell) and good bread. Have the kids set the table especially for tonight. Let them do this… even if it doesn’t look “great” it will be fun to see what they do to make it special. My kids usually end up with a lop-sided tablecloth, their favorite coffee mugs, and statues from around the house. 
  4. Remember that the point of this is to worship as a family, not to have a Pinterest worthy night. Keep the mood as joyful as you can. Ask the kids questions about Lent, you can talk about Jesus fasting in the desert, you can ask the kids if they have any good ideas about how they can give alms. The point here is to prepare (in your head) some topics of conversation so that during dinner you can gently steer the conversation away from the tattles of the day, fart jokes, or complaints. You can explain the Stations of the Cross to the kids if they have never done them before. (If you are not familiar with the stations yourself, don’t be alarmed, the CD and the booklets lead you step by step).   
  5. After dinner, clear the table and then move to the living room for the stations. If you are using the Holy Heroes Stations of the Cross Audio CD just pop it in and begin. Again, keep the mood peaceful, if a baby is playing on the floor let them. If one kid doesn’t want to participate ask that they wait quietly near by so that they don’t disturb the rest of the family (don’t allow electronics while they wait!) Chances are, as they listen to the family praying together, they will sneak back into the room and participate. If a child’s attention is starting to wander, gently bring them back to the prayers; I like to go over and share their booklet with them for a few minutes or hold their hand and give it a loving squeeze as we accompany our Lord on His Way of the Cross
  6. After the stations spend some time as a family. You can read together, tidy the kitchen together, really anything, just spend some nice time together as a family. I think it is beautiful to keep the radio off and all electronics off to remind us of the dark silence of Good Friday. 

That’s it! Those are just my simple suggestions, there really isn’t a wrong way to do this! Just remember that what we are doing is keeping our Lord company when everyone else has run away. We are walking along side Mary and John as they watch the the horrible passion unfold. We are worshiping as a family. 

I pray that your Lent is fruitful and that your heart is full of the joy of the Lord! Please pray for me and for the Holy Heroes Family!

Jenny Ryan

 

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Jenny
Jenny Ryan can be found regularly over at theryantable.com/  She is the mother of five, holds a Bachelors Degree in Theology, and wrote the Catholic children's book, "Love With All My Might."