A full guide to celebrate the 5th Sunday of Lent at home

Here you have the prayers, Readings, and everything else you need to celebrate with God’s Word

In the days and weeks to come, many of us will be legitimately prevented from participating in Sunday Mass. Therefore, Aleteia is mobilizing to propose to you, with the help of Magnificat magazine, to sanctify this 5th Sunday of Lent with a celebration of the Word of God.

How to use it:

  • If you’re alone, it is better to simply read the readings and prayers of this Sunday’s Mass in your missal and/or to follow the Mass on television.
  • This celebration requires the presence of at least two people.
  • It can take place from Saturday evening (Sunday vigil) to Sunday evening. However, Sunday morning remains the most appropriate time.
  • This celebration is particularly suitable for use with family, friends and neighbors.  However, in order to respect quarantine measures, you should verify whether it is allowed to invite neighbors or friends. In any event, if you do so, you should ensure that all safety guidelines are strictly followed.
  • Set up the needed number of chairs in front of a prayer corner, respecting the distance of one yard between each.
  • A simple cross or crucifix must always be visible in the background.
  • Light one or more candles, placing them on non-flammable stands (such as candlesticks or small porcelain plates). Don’t forget to blow them out at the end of the celebration.
  • Flowers are not used to adorn the prayer corner. It will give us all the more joy to put them back on the Vigil of Easter.
  • Designate a person to lead the prayer. In order of priority, they could be: a deacon, an instituted lay person (lector, etc.), or the father or mother of the family.
  • The leader also determines the length of the moments of silence.
  • Designate various readers for the readings.
  • Prepare the Universal Prayer (see a model below) in advance and select someone to lead it.
  • You may also prepare appropriate songs.

5th Sunday of Lent

Celebration of the Word

“I am the resurrection and the Life. Do you believe this?

All are seated. The leader of the celebration reads:

Brothers and sisters,

This [morning], on this 5th Sunday of Lent, containment measures prevent us from participating in the celebration of the Eucharist. Nevertheless, we know well that when we gather to pray in His name, Christ Jesus is present in our midst. We believe that when we read Scripture in the Church, it is the Word of God itself that speaks to us. His Word is then real food for our lives. That is why, coming together, in communion with the whole Church, we listen to His Word.


This 5th Sunday of Lent already gives us a glimpse of the Passion and Resurrection of Christ. In these days of the pandemic, when we hear news of all the sick, of all the dead, among our relatives, our friends, our neighbors, and those close to us, Lord, we are in tears!

At the announcement of the death of your friend Lazarus, you too burst into tears. So much so, that the witnesses exclaimed: “See how he loved him!”

O Jesus, by raising your friend from the dead, you want to convince us that love is stronger than sickness and death; you will soon give us invincible proof of this truth, by your passion and resurrection.


Brothers and sisters, in the midst of our tribulations, in the depths of our trials, the Church invites us to discover, step by step leading up to Easter, that God loves humanity so much that he offered himself, that all may share in the blessed resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ our Savior.

Let us now prepare to open our hearts by being silent.

After a real time of silence, all rise and make the Sign of the Cross, saying:

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The leader continues:

To prepare ourselves to receive God’s Word and in order for it to heal us, we recognize ourselves as sinners.

The penitential rite follows. For example:

Have mercy on us, O Lord.
For we have sinned against you.
Show us, O Lord, your mercy.
And grant us your salvation.
May Almighty God have mercy on us; forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.

We say or sing:

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

The leader says the following prayer:

By your help, we beseech you, Lord our God, may we walk eagerly in that same charity with which, out of love for the world, your Son handed himself over to death. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


The readings are taken from the Mass on this 4th Sunday of Lent.

The reader of the first reading stays standing while the others sit down.


A reading the book of the prophet Ezekiel (37: 12-14)

Thus says the Lord God:
O my people, I will open your graves
and have you rise from them,
and bring you back to the land of Israel.
Then you shall know that I am the Lord,
when I open your graves and have you rise from them,
O my people!
I will put my spirit in you that you may live,
and I will settle you upon your land;
thus you shall know that I am the Lord.
I have promised, and I will do it, says the Lord.

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

The reader of the psalm stands, while the others remain seated. If possible, it is better if the psalm is sung. When the celebration is held by a family, the response may be simply said or sung after the Reader has read the stanza.

PSALM 130 (1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8)

R/   With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord;
Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication. R/  

If you, O Lord, mark iniquities,
Lord, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
that you may be revered. R/  

I trust in the Lord;
my soul trusts in his word.
More than sentinels wait for the dawn,
let Israel wait for the Lord. R/  

For with the Lord is kindness
and with him is plenteous redemption;
And he will redeem Israel
from all their iniquities. R/  

Whoever leads the prayer stands up and says:

God of love and forgiveness, you have made the dawn of salvation rise upon your people sending your Word into the world. Don’t abandon us now to the depths where our faults have plunged us: listen to your Church’s cry and fulfill its expectation granting us full deliverance.

The reader of the second reading stands while the rest remain seated.


A reading of the letter of St. Paul to the Romans (8:8-11)

Brothers and sisters:
Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh;
on the contrary, you are in the spirit,
if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.
Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
But if Christ is in you,
although the body is dead because of sin,
the spirit is alive because of righteousness.
If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,
the one who raised Christ from the dead
will give life to your mortal bodies also,
through his Spirit dwelling in you.

The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

All rise and say or sing the acclamation of the gospel.

Glory to you, Word of God, Lord Jesus Christ!

I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will never die.

Glory to you, Word of God, Lord Jesus Christ!


The Gospel is not proclaimed, but merely read with simplicity. If there are young children present, they may be seated.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (11:1-45)

Now a man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany,
the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil
and dried his feet with her hair;
it was her brother Lazarus who was ill.

So the sisters sent word to him saying,
“Master, the one you love is ill.”
When Jesus heard this he said,
“This illness is not to end in death,
but is for the glory of God,
that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
So when he heard that he was ill,
he remained for two days in the place where he was.
Then after this he said to his disciples,
“Let us go back to Judea.”
The disciples said to him,
“Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you,
and you want to go back there?”
Jesus answered,
“Are there not twelve hours in a day?
If one walks during the day, he does not stumble,
because he sees the light of this world.
But if one walks at night, he stumbles,
because the light is not in him.”
He said this, and then told them,
“Our friend Lazarus is asleep,
but I am going to awaken him.”
So the disciples said to him,
“Master, if he is asleep, he will be saved.”
But Jesus was talking about his death,
while they thought that he meant ordinary sleep.
So then Jesus said to them clearly,
“Lazarus has died.
And I am glad for you that I was not there,
that you may believe.
Let us go to him.”
So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples,
“Let us also go to die with him.”

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus
had already been in the tomb for four days.
Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away.
And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary
to comfort them about their brother.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,

“Your brother will rise.”
Martha said to him,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”

When she had said this,
she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying,
“The teacher is here and is asking for you.”
As soon as she heard this,
she rose quickly and went to him.
For Jesus had not yet come into the village,
but was still where Martha had met him.
So when the Jews who were with her in the house comforting her
saw Mary get up quickly and go out,
they followed her,
presuming that she was going to the tomb to weep there.
When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him,
she fell at his feet and said to him,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping,
he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said,
“Where have you laid him?”
They said to him, “Sir, come and see.”
And Jesus wept.
So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.”
But some of them said,
“Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man
have done something so that this man would not have died?”

So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb.
It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.
Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him,
“Lord, by now there will be a stench;
he has been dead for four days.”
Jesus said to her,
“Did I not tell you that if you believe
you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone.
And Jesus raised his eyes and said,

“Father, I thank you for hearing me.
I know that you always hear me;
but because of the crowd here I have said this,
that they may believe that you sent me.”
And when he had said this,
He cried out in a loud voice,
“Lazarus, come out!”
The dead man came out,
tied hand and foot with burial bands,
and his face was wrapped in a cloth.
So Jesus said to them,
“Untie him and let him go.”

Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary
and seen what he had done began to believe in him.

No acclamation concludes the reading of the Gospel.

All are seated.

The leader repeats slowly, as if it were a deep and far-off echo:

“I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”

All observe five minutes of silence for silent personal meditation.

Then, all rise and profess the faith of the Church by saying the Apostles’ Creed:

I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son,
our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended into hell;
on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.


All remain standing for the universal prayer which has been prepared beforehand.

Or, they may use the following intercessions, separating the intentions with an intervening moment of silence:

Strengthened in our faith by Lazarus’ return to life, let us pray with confidence to the Father who hears the voice of his Son:

R/  Lord, hear our prayer!

That far from sinking, the ship of the Church may be a refuge for all.

R/   Lord, hear our prayer!

May catechumens let the desire for baptism grow in them.

R/   Lord, hear our prayer!

In their tribulations, may men and women of good will discover the meaning of their lives by listening to your Word.

R/   Lord, hear our prayer!

May our families be imbued with patience and tenderness.

R/   Lord, hear our prayer!

For all people for whom this isolation is a trial.

R/   Lord, hear our prayer!

May researchers, doctors and health care workers find the strength to continue their work with dedication.

R/   Lord, hear our prayer!

May all people in hospitals, and their families,

overcome the ordeal of their illness.

R/   Lord, hear our prayer!

For the dead you call to resurrection.

R/   Lord, hear our prayer!

Each participant may freely add an intention, to which all respond:

R/   Lord, hear our prayer!

At the end, the leader introduces to the Lord’s Prayer:

United in the Spirit and in the communion of the Church, we dare to pray as the Lord Jesus himself taught us:

All say or sing the Our Father:

Our Father…

Continuing immediately with:
For the kingdom…

Then the leader invites those present to share a sign of peace:

We have just joined our voices
with that of the Lord Jesus to pray to the Father.
We are sons and daughters in the Son.
In the love that unites us with one another,
renewed by the word of God,
we can exchange a gesture of peace,
a sign of the communion
we receive from the Lord.

All then exchange a greeting of peace from a distance: for example, by bowing deeply towards each other in turn; or, as a family, by blowing each other a kiss.

All sit down.


The leader says:

When we can’t receive sacramental communion for lack of a Mass, Pope Francis urges us to practice spiritual communion, also called “communion of desire.” The Council of Trent reminds us that this “consists in an ardent desire to feed on the Heavenly Bread, with a living faith that acts through charity and that makes us participants in the fruits and graces of the Sacrament.” The value of our spiritual communion depends therefore on our faith in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist as a source of life, love and unity, and our desire to receive Communion in spite of our inability to do so.

With that in mind, I now invite you to bow your head, to close your eyes and recollect yourselves.


Deep in our hearts, may a burning desire arise within us to unite ourselves with Jesus, in sacramental communion, and then to bring His love to life into our lives, loving others as He loved us.

All remain in silence for 5 minutes for a heart-to-heart conversation with Jesus Christ.

A hymn of thanksgiving may be sung.

All stand.

The leader says the closing prayer, in the name of all:

Through the intercession of St. N. [patron saint of the parish, diocese or country] and of all the saints of God May the God of perseverance and courage grant us to manifest throughout our lives the spirit of sacrifice, compassion and love of Christ Jesus.  Thus, in the communion of the Holy Spirit, we will give glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for ever and ever!


All together facing the cross, each with their hands joined in prayer, invoke the Lord’s Blessing: 

May the Lord let his face shine upon us and come and save us. Amen.

All make the Sign of the Cross. Then parents may trace the Sign of the Cross on their children’s foreheads.

To conclude the celebration, one of the following Marian antiphons may be sung, or some other familiar hymn to the Virgin Mary.

Ave, Regina cælorum
Ave, Domina Angelorum,
Salve radix, salve, porta, Ex qua mundo lux est orta.
Gaude, Vírgo gloriosa, Super omnes speciosa;
Vale, o valde decora
Et pro nobis Christum exora.

Hail, Queen of Heaven!
Hail, sovereign of the angels!
Hail, root of Jesse!
Hail, door through which the Light of the world arose.
Rejoice, glorious Virgin, who prevails over all in beauty!
Hail, O most beautiful one,
and pray to Christ for us.


*       *

To continue to sanctify this Sunday, it would be good to reconnect with the venerable tradition of Sunday vespers by celebrating, towards the end of the afternoon, the office of the Liturgy of the Hours that you will find at here, or we can take this Sunday’s Evening Prayer, which can be found here.

You can also take a quiet half-hour to meditate on this Sunday’s Gospel with Rembrandt.

For Palm Sunday and Holy Week, we will offer you increasingly rich formulas, to help you continue to celebrate, despite everything, the special seasons of our Christian life, for the glory of God and the salvation of the world.

You can also find other resources for free on the Magnificat website

Raphael Benedict

Raphael Benedict is a Catholic who wants nothing but to spread the catholic faith to reach the ends of the world. Make this possible by always sharing any article or prayers posted on your social media platforms. Remain blessed

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