Archive for the ‘Triduum’ Category

A few years ago, we were in Puebla Mexico for Holy Thursday. It was a revelation. Here’s an excerpt and some photos. More here. 

What to do now? Well….I ventured…there’s this tradition of visiting seven churches where the Eucharist is reserved on Holy Thursday night. I’ve always wanted to do it, but doing so in Birmingham would require driving all around town – there are so many churches here – we could probably knock of seven in about thirty minutes.

They were not super enthusiastic, as well as doubtful about my claim, but you know what? I wasn’t too far off. If we had been totally business-like about the whole thing, and not stopped to watch and observe and figure out some new sights we were seeing it wouldn’t have taken longer than thirty minutes.

So we set out. And discovered something new and quite wonderful. Those of you with roots in this culture won’t be surprised. But I don’t and I was. This visitation of the seven churches is A Thing.  It’s what everyone is doing on Holy Thursday night – wandering around the center of the city with their families and friends, stopping in churches, praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament and enjoying the end of Lent -for at the door of every church were vendors set up selling the typical snacks of this area – the corn, the little tortillas, frying, topped with salsas and cheese, and turnovers.


I was stunned. I don’t know if this is the “correct” way of seeing it, but this is what came to me as we walked amidst the other families, joined them in prayer and smelled the scents of bounty:


From here:

“Lachrimae Amantis“
Lope de Vega Carpio (1562-1613), translated by Geoffrey Hill

What is there in my heart that you should sue
so fiercely for its love? What kind of care
brings you as though a stranger to my door
through the long night and in the icy dew

seeking the heart that will not harbor you,
that keeps itself religiously secure?
At this dark solstice filled with frost and fire
your passion’s ancient wounds must bleed anew.

So many nights the angel of my house
has fed such urgent comfort through a dream,
whispered ‘your lord is coming, he is close’

that I have drowsed half-faithful for a time
bathed in pure tones of promise and remorse:
‘tomorrow I shall wake to welcome him.’

Agony in the Garden

"amy welborn"

"amy welborn"

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Let’s go to Mexico City!

Regular readers know the story: when I realized that my older son’s spring break fell during Holy Week this year, the first thing I did was fume, make many speeches in my head, and then decide that No Spring Break For Us this year – we’ll stay in town, and you will Serve All the Liturgies, everywhere.

But then I recalled some thoughts I’d been having the past few years, thoughts centered on my desire to experience Holy Week in a place where they really do Holy Week, with seriousness and  lots of processions. Spain came to mind – Seville’s Semana Santa is renowned – but, well, two things: first, I didn’t want to do the go part way around the world and back in the space of a week. We did that last year when we spent Spring Break in London, and it was a great time, but I didn’t want to do it again. Secondly, well…big, huge, Christian centered-public events in Europe? Isn’t it strange that we live in a time when we might think, “Huh. I think it might be safer to do Holy Week in Guatemala than in Spain.” It all came down to: in Seville, I’d be constantly, nervously looking for trucks and people with backpacks, but in Antigua…I wouldn’t.

For that was my first idea. Last summer, my younger son and I spent a week in IMG_0311Guatemala doing mostly Maya-related sites, and I had originally thought I would try to work a day or so in Antigua, but it was really too far from where we were centered. So when I started the Semana Santa research, Antigua popped up again – alongside Seville as the site of big celebrations. What followed that was a look at the map and the decision that Copan, Honduras wasn’t really that far – Copan is the location of some very interesting Maya ruins that are my son’s bucket list. My original plan then developed: we’d  fly into Honduras, spend the first part of the week in Copan Ruinas, then go to Antigua for the Triduum, and then fly out of Guatemala City. I got so far as to reserve an AirBnB in Antigua and a hotel room in Copan Ruinas. But…

Oh, the airfare! It was pretty high and never budged from the heights. It wasn’t, surprisingly, the Honduras part – it was the Guatemala City leg that was out of sight. They must have very high airport taxes or fees in Guatemala or something (we flew in and out of Belize last summer). I just wasn’t willing to pay over $700 a ticket to go to Guatemala – this conviction was particularly acute because at the same time, I was starting to mull over a trip to Japan for next summer, and heck, we can fly to Tokyo from LAX for $700.

So…a couple of months ago, I started considering a plan B, and an obvious one popped into my head: Mexico City.  I immediately ran it past the boys. Archaeology-Mad 13-year IMG_20180310_144930.jpgold said, without hesitation, “Teotihuacan!” and was all in, while the almost 17-year old, amenable to just about anything, was his usual amenable self. I’m sure he did a calculation of how much money he would fail to make by not being here to work that week, but in the end, his interest in new places and adventures won out.

And did you know Southwest flies to Mexico City?

A lot cheaper than going to Honduras and Guatemala. A lot less travel stress than heading across the Atlantic.

And hopefully…processions and exploding Judases everywhere.

We have a few goals, but no set plans. I may be an obsessive travel researcher (it’s almost as enjoyable as the actual trip to me….), but I don’t plan much. So, I’m sitting here the night before we leave realizing just now that I’m not really sure how to get from the airport to our apartment. And we’ll be there in about 18 hours. I guess I better get on that.

The general goals for the trip are:

  • Teotihuacan
  • Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe
  • Museum of Archaeology
  • Various other art and history museum

As I said, we’re spending the Triduum in Puebla. Someone here had suggested Queretaro, and I thought about it very seriously but finally settled on Puebla – it’s a bit closer and just struck me as more interesting.  Or

So…stay  tuned! Check in on Instagram throughout the day and here in the evenings or mornings. And if you have any quick tips for either place, comment here or shoot me an email at amywelborn60 – AT – gmail DOT com.

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One week! One week from today!

If you’re on the lookout for resources for yourself, your kids or your parish or school, take a look at these. It might be cutting it close for parish or school resources, but maybe not – it’s worth a call.

So, yes. March 1. If you’re prepping for a parish or school, check out my Lenten devotional from Liguori, also available in Spanish.

(pdf sample of English language version here)

Kindle version of English booklet. 

Paper version. Still time to order with Prime. 


The Spanish-language version is not available in a digital format, but here is an Amazon link, and yes, you can get it soon via Prime. 


PDF sample of Spanish language version. 

Contact Liguori at 1-800-325-9521 for parish and school orders. No promises, but they can probably get orders to you by next week.

  • Reconciled to God, a daily devotional from Creative Communications for the parish.  You can buy it individually, in bulk for the parish our your group, or get a digital version. (.99)amy-welborn-3


  • The Word on Fire ministry is more than the Catholicism or Pivotal Players series – as great as they are! There are also some really great lecture series/group discussion offerings.  I wrote the study guide for the series on Conversion – a good Lenten topic. 

  • A few years ago, I wrote a Stations of the Cross for young people calledNo Greater Love,  published by Creative Communications for the Parish. They put it out of print for a while…but now it’s back!


Looking ahead to First Communion/Confirmation season? Try here. 

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A post on what we’re doing schoolwise for the 10-year old…mostly these days, but with some future planning. Mostly to keep myself accountable….

  • We spent several weeks studying up on Spanish culture, geography and history, as well as honing in on the art we were going to see, particularly Valesquez, El Greco, Picasso and Goya. Don Quixote. I, Juan de Pareja. So that took up most of March. Then, field trip to Spain. Then there was Holy Week, during which they served many liturgies at a convent served that week by a very strong homilist.  You can’t get much stronger catechesis than being carefully trained to serve at the Triduum liturgies during which you are immersed in the deep tradition of the Church, including music, you witness a community gracefully and generously caring for its aged members and welcoming guests, and you hear strong, direct, missional homilies. Yup.
  • There’s another trip (stateside!) coming up in a few weeks, so prep has begun for that: geology, history, geography, bookmaking….
  • Back to the present:
  • Prayer today was Mass readings & Morning Prayer.  Every so often, we read the Mass readings from an actual Bible rather than the Universalis website, to give him practice in looking up passages in the Bible. He also wrote down some citations from my dictation (like Acts 3: 1-10. And then, what would it be if the citation were Acts, chapter 3, verses 1 AND 10. And so on.) When there’s geography mentioned, we pull out the map and figure out the lay of the land.
  • Reviewed liturgical year, particularly Easter Season.
  • Copywork today was Luke 24:35, the last sentence of the day’s Gospel.
  • Cursive practice, again and again! 
  • We finished Beast Academy 4C before our Spain trip, and so we are waiting with baited breath until 4D is released.  In the meantime, he is going through Life of Fred: Fractions, which is partly review and partly new stuff and a crazy story he loves to read.  We’re also working through a bit of Challenge Math. 
  • We’ve picked up the pace on Latin, hoping to finish up Getting Started With Latin in a couple of weeks. At the same time, we’ve started Visual Latin, another light introduction but at a quicker pace.  My older son worked through part of VL year before last, and I don’t recommend it as a stand alone by any means, but as an engaging (up to a point) supplement it’s okay. We’ll stay on this course until the fall, when he will probably start Henle – although I am still pouring over forums at The Well-Trained Mind sorting through resources.
  • We’ve started this writing program – I like it so far.  Still using a lot of the Brave Writer way of thinking as well, but this gives me a little more structure to work with.
  • Back to the MENSA poetry program – today we started “The Road Not Taken.” (link leads to teaching/memorization aids)
  • Science as per usual is all over the place.  It’s spring, so that’s happening: bees to be watched, dead wasps to be studied, blooms to be found…and so on. I want to finish the chunk of the grade-level science book that deals with electricity, but we’ll see how that works out.
  • I found a site (don’t remember where) that listed a lot of sources for free propoganda teaching materials from organizations and industries.   I’ve received a couple, and we’ll look at those this week – like this one ALL ABOUT COAL! 
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  • Our first EEME kit came this week, so we’ll hit that in the next couple of days (or probably early next week) and I’ll report back. (I paid for it – it wasn’t a review set, btw)
  • We get several magazines published by Cricket – highly recommended, watch for sales – and they, in addition to the couple of dozen books on his own interests (animals and natural disasters, mostly, although this week he brought home a book on Watergate….)  he checks out from the library every week, provide much of the history and science reading.
  • Some good videos lately, each of which leads to further exploration and discussion.  Most of them come from The Kids Should See This, Science Dump (although that has sexually-related material, so you can’t give free reign there, if you ever do to kids on the Internet, which I don’t.), Brain Scoop, Periodic Videos, and many of the other great science-focused YouTube channels out there.
  • Constant recreational reading.  Now he’s tearing through this series. Should take about a week. Before this, he consumed The Tripods trilogy.  Frequent interaction/questions/spontaneous narration about what he’s reading.
  • I found a really good music theory site: Dave Conservatoire.  It’s like Khan Academy for music.  So far, it’s great – even the videos on areas he’s familiar with are engaging enough to keep him (and me) interested and in every one, we learn something new. It will be even better once he has more interactive quizzes in place, but even as it is, it’s very useful.
  • And sometimes it all fits together: We watched some stuff on pitch from Dave Conservatoire, reviewed some of the many other activities we did on the physics of sound a couple of months ago, reviewed a couple of pages from the Usborne physics books we have, then watched sonic boom videos from Science Dump, and then saw and discussed this video on the George Mason students who devised a way of putting out fires using sound waves.  
  • Once a week, homeschool boxing class, and finally, his excellent art class is starting up again, after a basketball-induced break. (BB practice was at the same time as art). Schola at the Cathedral. Cub Scouts. There’s one more science center classes left before summer. A lot of piano this month – state competition, regular recital, and then a scholarship audition.
  • We’re continuing, at a leisurely pace of about once a week, to do the Mapping the World with Art curriculum, which he really enjoys.
  • Oh, if you want a good source for season-related poetry and quotes, go here – it’s great.  It’s a wonderful source for both copywork and general seasonally-inspired poetry reading and sharing. 
  • Lunch eaten to Horrible HIstories. (Now that Lent is over…he gave up TV for Lent, and didn’t complain once…)
  • Alabama Shakespeare is performing As You Like It, so next week, all three of us will start familiarizing ourselves with that..  (They are also performing King Lear, but I think we’ll stick with the comedy. )
  • Wanderings? Tigers for Tomorrow – a rescue facility for, well, tigers, and other cats as well as some bears, wolves and so on.  Excellent, thought-provoking tour.  The weather is now turning gorgeous, so definitely more adventures to come……Mental wanderings? Lots of drawing of imaginary worlds and cataloguing imaginary animals, and creating music on the keyboard and piano…

I think we’ll follow the same kind of path next year, simply getting a little more intentional with both the Latin and the writing. I hope his math progress can track with Beast Academy’s release schedule, but I’m afraid we’re going to continually be just a bit ahead.  He should, no matter what, be ready for the AOPS Pre-Algebra in 6th grade.  If you’d suggested that to me before Beast Academy, I would have scoffed, but now, about to finish up 4 and looking forward to grade 5 in the curriculum, I can see very clearly how the BA road is leading straight to AOPS – methods and ways of thinking that were new to my older son as he engaged with AOPS for the first time two years ago are being introduced in Beast Academy – so that when the 10-year old meets them in a year…he won’t be meeting them for the first time.

The last time I threw out a post like this, some concerned person wondered if the poor little fellow was having room to play in his busy schedule.  I’ll simply remind you that for us, “school”  –  takes three hours a day, tops. Then….recess for everyone!

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