Before we get too far into this, I’m embarrassed to admit I can’t find any photos from when we’ve done the Blessing of the Easter Baskets (aka Blessing of the First Foods of Easter). I’ll credit that to being a tired parent, but also because I never thought I’d be talking about it to other parents. But I digress.
The Blessing of the Easter Baskets is an Eastern European tradition, where, as you can guess from the title, families had the first foods of Easter (usually breakfast) blessed by their priest on Holy Saturday morning.
Traditionally, the baskets were filled with items that carried special symbolism, like rich Pascha bread, cured meats, colored hardboiled eggs, salt, horseradish, and butter formed into the shape of a lamb. Nowadays, you can include these items, and our family adds shares of flour, sugar, spices, and goodies to place in our kids’ Easter Baskets – anything we’d like blessed to commemorate the Resurrection of the Lord. The most important concept to grasp is that we’re recognizing God’s goodness and all the blessings He’s given us; rejoicing in Christ’s victory over death; and celebrating the end of a rough 40 days of fasting and penance!
Your parish might already be doing this blessing, so check the bulletin or call the parish office. If they’re not doing it this year, ask to start the tradition next year. And, in the meantime, you can STILL do the blessing at home, led by the head of the home (yes, the blessing below can be done by a lay person).
Order of Blessing:
When the community has gathered, a suitable song may be sung.
Minister: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
All: (making the Sign of the Cross) Amen.
Minister: For our sake Christ became obedient, accepting even death, death on a cross. Therefore God raised Him on high and gave Him the name above all other names. Blessed be God forever.
All: Blessed be God Forever
Reading of the Word of God:
Minister or another may read from Scripture, either below or from Isaiah 55:1-11 – “Come all you who are thirsty”; Luke 24:13-35 – “They knew Christ in the breaking of the bread”; or John 6:1-14 – The multiplication of the loaves:
Minister: Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the book of Deuteronomy (16:1-8) –
Observe the month of Abib by keeping the Passover of the LORD, your God, since it was in the month of Abib that He brought you by night out of Egypt. You shall offer the Passover sacrifice from your flock or your herd to the LORD, your God, in the place which He chooses as the dwelling place of His name. You shall not eat leavened bread with it. For seven days you shall it with unleavened bread, the bread of affliction, that you may remember as long as you live the day of your departure from the land of Egypt; for in frightened haste you left the land of Egypt. Nothing leavened may be found in all your territory for seven days, and none of the meat which you sacrificed on the evening of the first day shall be kept overnight for the next day.
You may not sacrifice the Passover in any of the communities which the LORD, your God, gives you; only at the place which He chooses at the dwelling place of His name, and in the evening at sunset, on the anniversary of your departure from Egypt, shall you sacrifice the Passover. You shall cook and eat it at the place the LORD, your God chooses; then, in the morning you may return to your tents. For six days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh there shall be a solemn meeting in honor of the LORD, your God; on that day you shall not do any sort of work.
As circumstances suggest, a psalm may be sung, or some other suitable song:
Refrain: My soul is thirsting for God, the living God.
V. Athirst is my soul for God, the living God. When shall I go and behold the face of God? R.
V. Those times I recall, now that i pour out my soul within me, when I went with the throng and led them in procession to the house of God, amid loud cries of joy and thanksgiving, with the multitudes keeping festival. R.
V. Send forth your light and your fidelity; they shall lead me on and bring me to your holy mountain, to your dwelling place. R.
V. Then I will go in to the altar of God, the God of my gladness and joy; then I will give you thanks upon the harp, O God my God. R.
The intercessions are then said. These may be adapted to include additional intentions, as circumstances suggest.
Minister: The Son of God who invites us to the Paschal feast stands ready to help. Let us call upon Him in our need.
Refrain: Lord, prepare us for the feast of life.
M: That Easter may find us cleansed of sin and ready to live anew our Christian faith, we pray to the Lord. R.
M: That the bread we share may be a reminder of the Bread of Life we share in the Eucharist, we pray to the Lord. R.
M: That we may be ready to give from our table to those who hunger and thirst, we pray to the Lord. R.
M: That we may one day enjoy the banquet of the Lord in the heavenly kingdom, we pray to the Lord. R.
After the intercessions, the minister invites all to sing or pray the Lord’s Prayer.
Minister: Christ taught us to pray for our daily bread, and so we dare to say:
All: Our Father…
Prayer of Blessing:
A minister who is a priest or deacon prays the following with his hands OUTSTRETCHED; a lay minister prays the prayer with hands JOINED.
M: God of glory, the eyes of all turn to you as we celebrate Christ’s victory over sin and death. Bless us and this food of our first Easter meal. May we who gather at the Lord’s table continue to celebrate the joy of His Resurrection and be admitted finally to His heavenly banquet. Grant this through Christ our Lord.
A minister who is a priest or deacon concludes the rite by saying: May Christ always nourish you and strengthen you in faith and love, now and forever, R. Amen.
Then he blesses all present: And may Almighty God bless you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, R. Amen.
A lay minister concludes the rite by signing himself or herself with the Sign of the Cross and saying: May Christ nourish us and strenthen us in faith and love, now and forever, R. Amen.
Conclude with a suitable song.
Does your family do the Blessing of the Easter Baskets already, or is this new to you? We’d love to hear what you’re including in your baskets this year!
And for more practical ways to make the faith come alive for your family, get “The Prayer Book for Tired Parents: Practical Ways to Grow in Love of God and Get Your Family to Heaven” by Dave and Debbie Cowden
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