In an exclusive video commentary, Terry Polakovic, Executive Director of Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women (ENDOW) emphasized the importance of incorporating silence into one's daily routine to maximize the experience of Holy Week.
“My advice on Holy Week is to try and put as much quiet as possible into your life,” Polakovic told CNA. “It’s hard to do that in the every day,” she added, “even if we have the best intentions in the world.” Nevertheless she recommended getting away “from crowds, telephone, email, text message, everything like that, just to try and put some silence into our hearts, into our minds, so that we can really focus on what this week is about and that we can really anticipate Christ’s rising from the dead.”
An ENDOW participant, Jean-Marie Willis, cautioned against losing sight of the real meaning of “these high holy days of the Catholic faith.” She said that during Holy Week, “a lot of people go into auto pilot and they just do what they need to get to Easter, to wear the pretty outfit, celebrate, have a nice meal, and maybe have those things that they abstained from during Lent.”
However, she noted, “There’s a real beauty and joy in knowing what’s going to happen, and know that the suffering that Jesus has gone through is going to be for the redemption of our souls.”
For women especially, Lent and Holy Week take on a unique aspect. Jane Eusterman, another ENDOW participant, drew upon what her group had been studying, especially in regard to the Apostolic Letter by John Paul II, “Salvifici Doloris.” “I think part of the feminine genius for women is to be able to have a feeling for the other person and to be able to walk alongside of them,” she noted. Eusterman emphasized offering up her own suffering to help share in Jesus Christ’s pain and his suffering, yet salvific, walk.
Joanie Todd, an ENDOW facilitator, spoke to CNA of her own Lenten and Holy Week experience, and concluded by recommending living Holy Week and Easter fully, “so we’re on track for the entire year, spiritually.”