My kids know when I pull out our copy of “Catherine’s Pascha” by Charlotte Riggle that I’m going to cry. I can’t help it. You might think that means this is a sad story, but in fact it’s the brightest story we could have in the Orthodox faith.
This book does an excellent job of viewing the Paschal Midnight Service from the eyes of a young girl (I would guess 8-10 years old), her family, and friends. What I love about this book is that on each page in the background is a different Orthodox Church from around the world. RJ Hughes takes us across the globe on that Holiest of nights when we as Orthodox celebrate the Resurrection of Christ.
Catherine is determined to stay awake through the service with her best friend Elizabeth. They get up to normal kid stuff during Liturgy (dripping wax from their candles on their hands), which I appreciate as a mom of 4. This book is realistic in both the artwork and storyline, you can insert your family into this night of worship quite easily.
If you’re wondering about the part I cry in each read, it’s when the family is outside the church and the Priest knocks on the door and someone inside asks “Who is the King of Glory?!” Why does this part make me cry? It is one of my most vivid memories as a convert of my first Paschal celebration in 2008. It is also perhaps one of the most important services as Christians. Other than the Nativity service where we celebrate how Christ came into this world as both God and a babe, the defeat of death by his death and resurrection is key to our life in Christ as Orthodox Christians. He is the light and by his light we spread that to others through loving them in this life and worshipping him in both this world and the Three me to come.
There are also some fun Pascha basket traditions in the book, Catherine’s mother makes Sticky Bubbies and my kids ask me every year to make them! Sticky Bunnies Recipe from the book: https://charlotteriggle.com/honey-bunnies/
I pray this book helps your family celebrate the night of Pascha year round and that it encourages you to have conversations with your children about our faith. -Kathryn Reetzke
You can order Charlotte’s books from her site for bulk orders or follow the directions there: https://charlotteriggle.com/store/