For Lent this year, I focused on teaching my kids the Stations of the Cross. I didn’t grow up in a Catholic family and only one of my children is school age, so they haven’t been exposed to the Way of the Cross very much. I made Stations of the Cross eggs and bought Way of the Cross coloring books from our local Catholic Book store. We did a station or two as a family after dinner each night for the last two weeks of Lent leading up to Easter Sunday.
Like many of you, now that the joyful Easter is here, I am ready to really celebrate, and I want my kids to see this as a joyful season too. They enjoyed our family prayer times during Lent so much that I was really excited to learn about the Via Lucis, or the “Way of Light,” proper for the post-Easter liturgical season. The Via Lucis, or Stations of the Resurrection, is a newer prayer practice that includes fourteen stations for reflection from Christ’s resurrection to Pentecost. Just as Friday is a special day for the Via Crucis, Sunday is the special day for the Via Lucis. Instead of carrying a cross, participants are encouraged to lift a paschal candle or icon for all to see.
Each of our children had a simple white pillar candle next to their place setting on Easter morning, to use during our Way of Light prayers. I also set out 14 candles on one of our tables, one for each of the stations we’ll be doing together. I have found several great resources for praying the Via Lucis, either with a group or with children: an explanatory document that includes the stations, beautiful Stations of the Resurrection Cards by Jennifer Miller, and an example of a parish trying to adopt this practice. To highlight the celebratory nature of the season, perhaps we’ll do this after brunch or dinner, and have a special dessert or treat afterwards. For next year, I may make a modified version of Resurrection Eggs to go along with the Via Lucis so that the younger children have something to open along with each station.
As Mary Alice reminded us, let us not forget that Easter is a season! Our Risen Lord offers us forgiveness, joy and life eternal with him! Let’s teach our kids and show the world that this is something to celebrate!