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Liturgist-Y People: How To Decorate A Parish For Lent


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#1 Piccoli Fiori JMJ

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 01:14 PM

+JMJ

I'm curious how one might decorate a church for Lent. I am on our parish's arts & environment committee (in hopes to help the decorations become a little less, silly?) and we are having a meeting this week to determine what we are going to do. We have a Lenten theme and each week has a focus based on the Gospel for that week. (Overall: “Do You Believe In The Son of God?” Week 1: One Does Not Live On Bread Alone Week 2: This Is My Beloved Son, Hear Him Week 3: We Have Heard For Ourselves Week 4: I Was Blind, But Now I See Week 5: Yes, Lord, I believe!)

We not only decorate the Sanctuary and the Church, but there is a large bulletin board in the lobby that we get to decorate as well. That is where the creativity gets a little more room...

#2 cmotherofpirl

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 02:44 PM

Why would the Sanctuary area be decorated for any season other than a wreath for Advent, nativity scene Christmas or lilies for Easter? Lent is a time of admitting our brokeness, our emptiness without God.

#3 Dave

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 03:13 PM

Empty the holy water fonts and put sand in them -- it's supposed to symbolize the "desert" of Lent in relation to Christ's 40 days in the desert.










Just kidding! :lol4: Don't do that! Only modernist liturgists do that sort of thing, which, by the way, isn't allowed. :getaclue:

#4 The Thurifer

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 03:59 PM

Put sand in the holy water fonts, but don't empty the water. The resulting mud symbolizes the mire of our sinfulness, plus it becomes quite humourous during the Sprinkling Rite.

Actually, the above poster is right. Holy water reminds us of our baptism, and during Lent we need that reminder more than ever. We have seriously degraded the quality of sacred art in the Catholic Church with the advent of 1970's-era childrens' banners replacing paintings and statues. I don't go in for cheap art, i.e. banners, dead trees, covering the Stations of the Cross with photos of starving children, or singing that dreadful song "Ashes" (we can't create ourselves anew!!!). There are traditional symbols, such as covering statues with purple cloth and omitting all non-essential music, which speak far more powerfully than a violet felt banner covered with refrigerator art.

#5 Lil Red

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 04:04 PM

Put sand in the holy water fonts, but don't empty the water. The resulting mud symbolizes the mire of our sinfulness, plus it becomes quite humourous during the Sprinkling Rite.

Actually, the above poster is right. Holy water reminds us of our baptism, and during Lent we need that reminder more than ever. We have seriously degraded the quality of sacred art in the Catholic Church with the advent of 1970's-era childrens' banners replacing paintings and statues. I don't go in for cheap art, i.e. banners, dead trees, covering the Stations of the Cross with photos of starving children, or singing that dreadful song "Ashes" (we can't create ourselves anew!!!). There are traditional symbols, such as covering statues with purple cloth and omitting all non-essential music, which speak far more powerfully than a violet felt banner covered with refrigerator art.

umm, what? :blink:

#6 Chamomile

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 04:32 PM

Less is better.

Nada is best, in terms of additions.

For the sanctuary, I mean.

I don't know where to find actual instructions on this, so I guess this is just my opinion. But banners with artwork on them (which is sometimes unidentifiable to anyone but the creators) are a pet peeve of mine during Lent... and make me focus more on decorations than the Mass itself. Because I'm confused by trying to figure out what they are supposed to be and symbolize :huh:

& Holy Water founts are to be empty, I'm quite sure.

I found this information on a website:


Akin to the asceticism of Lent is its mournful tone. The Church is traditionally draped in purple or black, its organ silenced, and its altar bereft of any flowers. At home medieval Catholics would avoid frivolity or hilarity, and would wear black during either Holy Week or Good Friday.

There is a special mourning custom that also begins on Passion Sunday and ends when the Gloria is sung during the Easter Vigil Mass: covering all sacred images (crucifixes, statues, etc.) with purple cloth in both church and home. This might seem counterintuitive, since one would expect to gaze at a crucifix more during the season when the Passion is being considered. Yet the Roman rite teaches by absence as well as by presence. In an odd way, being denied access to the sacred images alerts you to their presence all the more, in the same way that not having the sacrifice of the Mass on the one day you would expect it the most, i.e., Good Friday, makes one all the more aware of the Sacrifice that took place on that day. Covering sacred images also adds immensely to the sense of sorrow and compunction that should naturally accompany this somber period.



#7 Piccoli Fiori JMJ

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 04:33 PM

Sad thing... our church barely has anything decorating the sanctuary or church during Ordinary Time. There may be an occasional wreath. Oh, we also only have a large basin when you walk in the church/lobby with holy water. There are no fonts in the church proper except maybe our babbling brook of a baptismal font. I'm very fond of lent because they dry that sucker out and you don't hear trickling water throughout Mass.

cmom, I echo your sentiments, but I don't think anyone in our parish that is charge of decorating or liturgical things thinks the same. There is a certain 'country chic' or 'craft project-ness' that tends to rear its head...

What They Do
The Arts and Environment Committee is a subcommittee of the Liturgy Commission. Their task is to creatively express the liturgical seasons of the year in the church environment through the use of color, texture and visual art. When you see a banner, or a flower arrangement, or a change in the colors and style of decoration, odds are the A&E Committee had something to do it.


Do you see what I mean?

ETA: Hahaha... I just went to look for a picture of our sanctuary and there is nothing on the website...

Edited by FutureNunJMJ, 07 February 2011 - 04:35 PM.


#8 Lil Red

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 04:39 PM

HOLY WATER FONTS ARE NOT TO BE EMPTIED!!

pet peeve of mine. <_<

It is bad badness to empty out the Holy Water fonts.

#9 Laudate_Dominum

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 04:42 PM

Posted Image

#10 Chamomile

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 04:53 PM

HOLY WATER FONTS ARE NOT TO BE EMPTIED!!

pet peeve of mine. <_<

It is bad badness to empty out the Holy Water fonts.


Oh. Sorry for the advice of bad badness. I guess I feel the same way about banners ;) Except as Holy Water is a sacramental, that's a bit more important...

When are they emptied, if at all? I feel sure I've noticed it sometime.... maybe just Good Friday? Or maybe the church was just out or someone forget to fill the fount, and I gave it a symbolic meaning?

Obviously I'm not in charge of liturgical organizational stuff Posted Image I just go and pray. And use the Holy Water when it's there.

#11 Chamomile

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 04:54 PM

Posted Image




After being sprinkled with Holy Water:

:rabbit: Posted Image

Edited by Chamomile, 07 February 2011 - 04:55 PM.


#12 Laudate_Dominum

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 04:58 PM

After being sprinkled with Holy Water:

:rabbit: Posted Image

Indeed!

Posted Image

#13 dominicansoul

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 05:16 PM

flogs...lotz of flogs....enuff for everybody to pick one up on the way out the door...

#14 Lil Red

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 05:42 PM

i think that the fonts are allowed to be emptied on Good Friday - no other day of the year.

and please, i was not directing that at you, Chamomile, just i get rather irritated about this :hehe:

#15 dUSt

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 07:03 PM

Keep extra decorations out of the sanctuary.

My church removes all flowers from the altar, and covers all the statues (Mary, Joseph, the saints) with purple cloth to put more focus on the crucifix.

#16 cmotherofpirl

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 07:26 PM

Sad thing... our church barely has anything decorating the sanctuary or church during Ordinary Time. There may be an occasional wreath. Oh, we also only have a large basin when you walk in the church/lobby with holy water. There are no fonts in the church proper except maybe our babbling brook of a baptismal font. I'm very fond of lent because they dry that sucker out and you don't hear trickling water throughout Mass.

cmom, I echo your sentiments, but I don't think anyone in our parish that is charge of decorating or liturgical things thinks the same. There is a certain 'country chic' or 'craft project-ness' that tends to rear its head...



Do you see what I mean?

ETA: Hahaha... I just went to look for a picture of our sanctuary and there is nothing on the website...


Where in the GIRM does it say we decorate the Sanctuary with banners?
We don't have liturgists or decorating committees. Father announces on a certain day that we will decorate the church and if you want to help you show up and he serves refreshments.
The closest I've seen to decorating is hanging a cross on the corner with a purple stole hanging around it.

#17 Chamomile

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 08:53 PM

i think that the fonts are allowed to be emptied on Good Friday - no other day of the year.

and please, i was not directing that at you, Chamomile, just i get rather irritated about this :hehe:



I know! I didn't take it personally :)

I really wonder if the church near me is doing it more than Good Friday, though. I guess I'll be able to find out soon!

#18 Piccoli Fiori JMJ

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 08:32 AM

Where in the GIRM does it say we decorate the Sanctuary with banners?
We don't have liturgists or decorating committees. Father announces on a certain day that we will decorate the church and if you want to help you show up and he serves refreshments.
The closest I've seen to decorating is hanging a cross on the corner with a purple stole hanging around it.


I am certainly going to try to go for bare simplicity at the meeting tomorrow... stripping ourselves of everything but Christ Himself. Our church is pretty much all brick and wood with no real adornments. There is a huge white stone wall in the back of the sanctuary with absolutely nothing on it. Our altar & ambo are these blocks of light wood. The Crucifix is more of a Resurrex-ifix made of the same light wood and clear acrylic. There is no Tabernacle in the Church proper sometimes (this is hard to explain...). There is always this perpetual absence in our church. They try to make up for it with all the banners and decorations, where if there was something there to begin with, this would be an easier and simpler issue.

I love our little chapel for the reason that it rarely ever sees banners and decor other than the altar cloths changing color and for Easter a white stole(?) like thing draped across the Crucifix. There are flowers usually, but it is simple and there is the Tabernacle. Jesus, Himself. I actually almost forgot about the fact that there is a garden in our chapel with trees and plants... but that never changes. Our Lady of Fatima does have a lovely little home in there though.

P.S. Our Church was built in the 80s. That alone explains a lot.

#19 cmotherofpirl

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 10:07 PM

I am certainly going to try to go for bare simplicity at the meeting tomorrow... stripping ourselves of everything but Christ Himself. Our church is pretty much all brick and wood with no real adornments. There is a huge white stone wall in the back of the sanctuary with absolutely nothing on it. Our altar & ambo are these blocks of light wood. The Crucifix is more of a Resurrex-ifix made of the same light wood and clear acrylic. There is no Tabernacle in the Church proper sometimes (this is hard to explain...). There is always this perpetual absence in our church. They try to make up for it with all the banners and decorations, where if there was something there to begin with, this would be an easier and simpler issue.

I love our little chapel for the reason that it rarely ever sees banners and decor other than the altar cloths changing color and for Easter a white stole(?) like thing draped across the Crucifix. There are flowers usually, but it is simple and there is the Tabernacle. Jesus, Himself. I actually almost forgot about the fact that there is a garden in our chapel with trees and plants... but that never changes. Our Lady of Fatima does have a lovely little home in there though.

P.S. Our Church was built in the 80s. That alone explains a lot.

Your description and time frame explains it all :(. I can actually understand their urge to banner it up, so to speak. We crave and need texture and color and design, and if the building doesn't have it, we do our best to improve it with the best of intentions.

#20 Ephrem Augustine

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 11:18 PM

Lent might be an acceptable time for minimalism in decoration, if the Easter decorations are actually ostentatious and glorious.

I think bare banners, with the appropriate colors work. If the banners actually looked beautiful with design they might work, i am not talking about some felt design that looks like it was made by 2nd graders. I know in Malta it is customary to put banners everywhere.

Other then that, there is not much I can say without knowing the budget and creativity level.

Edited by Ephrem Augustine, 08 February 2011 - 11:21 PM.





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