Friday, November 18, 2022

About Church Flowers during Advent

Traditionally, the general rule is that there should be no altar flowers during Advent, although evergreens may be placed in the sanctuary. This is because it is a solemn season of preparation for Christmas.  The season's penitential nature can be seen in its liturgical color, which is violet.

The booklet A Handbook for the Sacristan by Rev. William A. O'Brien, M.A. published in 1932 states, "The altar is not decorated with flowers or other ornaments during Advent, except on the third Sunday, or 'Gaudete' Sunday, and Christmas Eve." (page 58)

As the Sacristan Handbook states, an exception to the general rule is made for the Third Sunday, called "Gaudete".  Its name comes from the first word of the introit of the day's Mass -- in English "rejoice" ("Rejoice in the Lord always . . .".)  Gaudete Sunday anticipates the joy of Christmas.

On Gaudete, rose-colored vestments are worn.  Therefore, a pair of vases filled with pink roses or pink carnations is appropriate.  But because of the solemnity of the overall season, this should be a restrained presentation and no more than two vases should be used.

As for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the liturgical color is white.  As far as I know, there is no prohibition against honoring Our Lady with altar flowers on this Holy Day.  It seems unlikely since even during Lent when altar flowers are forbidden, an exception is made for the Feast of the Annunciation.

That being said, it might be best to just use very nice foliage.  According to an old English "table of flowers" for feast days, the appropriate foliage for the Immaculate Conception is arbor vitae (pictured above). In any event, one should attempt to maintain the sense of restraint appropriate to the season.

Image:  From Wikimedia Commons.  (Click for license.)

Monday, October 31, 2022

Teaching Loyalty - Part 2

Writing on loyalty and the teaching of loyalty, Fenner continues, 

"Don't discuss family problems with others. Don't criticize your husband, wife, or children to outsiders. Always present them in the very best light possible. Teach your children similar behavior. Explain to them that you are happy to talk things over freely with them at home, but if they repeat what they hear outside, they prove they are unworthy of your trust and it will be withdrawn. Don't repeat your children's confidences to others, no matter how amusing or touching they may be. To do so proves that you are untrustworthy.

 "If an outsider comes to you with a complaint about your child, hear his story fully and weigh it calmly. Do nothing about the matter until you have given your child a chance to tell his side of the story. Do not scold or punish him until you are sure that he was in the wrong. Uphold him and defend him whenever you can, so that he will learn that he can always depend upon getting fair treatment at home. 

"Teach your children to be loyal to each other: not to carry tales, to defend one another against outsiders, to rejoice wholeheartedly in the honors brothers or sisters may attain, to sympathize with troubles. Encourage the boys to cherish and protect their sisters and the girls to look up to their brothers as their champions. Teach the older children to help the younger and the little ones to obey and respect the older ones." 

 Fenner, American Catholic Etiquette (1965), The Newman Press, p. 256.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Teaching Loyalty - Part 1

According to Kay Toy Fenner, writing in 1965, loyalty is "the keystone of the home. A wife should constantly hold up her husband before her children's eyes as the pattern of all that is good. She should remind them of all he sacrifices for them, all he does to give them protection and pleasure. Her accolade for any childish triumph should be 'Wait until we tell Daddy! How pleased he will be!' A husband's success in business, sports, even in gardening and family repair jobs, should be a matter for admiration and rejoicing. Help your children to understand that everything their father does, he does for them. His only reward is their affection and appreciation. "Husbands, remember that your wife's sole reward for her hard-working days is the comfort and well-being of her family, and the words of praise that she so rarely hears. Let your unfailing courtesy and consideration for her set a constant example to your children. A wife who knows she is admired and treasured by spouse and children can bear hardship, toil, sorrow and privation. . . . Let your family present a united front to the world. Don't repeat to outsiders anything your husband tells you about his business affairs. And remember, 'outsiders' includes your mother, sister, and very best friend! If you want your husband to talk freely about his business pursuits, let him discover that what he says to you will be kept an inviolable confidence. Discuss your sex life only with a doctor or priest. To mention it to anyone else is an unpardonable betrayal of your life partner." Fenner, American Catholic Etiquette (1965), The Newman Press, pp. 255-256.