Flowers are popularly being used by Catholics to decorate the church altars, sacred images, sanctuary and church premises. This practice has made both Catholics and non Catholics to ask this question “Why Catholics use flowers”. This article will give you detailed explanation about the flowers, why it’s used in the church, rules and regulations while decorating the altar with flowers, when flowers are permitted and when it’s not permitted.
Flowers are the reproductive part of a a plant, which are brightly coloured and has different shapes, sizes and colors. They are beautiful which is why they are used for decoration and it reminds us of the beauty of God’s creations. Chancel flowers also known as altar flowers, are the flowers used to decorate the altar and sacred images.
Though flowers are used for decorating the altar, there are certain rules followed while decorating the altar with flowers.
The use of the flowers are to be moderated, arranged around the altar rather than on the altar table. They also not arranged to hide sacred places in the altar like the Pulpit, the area of Baptism, the sanctuary etc.
The use of flowers doing lent is forbidden because it’s season of sorrow in the Catholic Church except on Laetare (Rejoice) Sunday (4th Sunday of Lent) the liturgical vestments changes from purple to rose, this is sign that something new and joyful is coming as Easter gets closer . The altar can bloom with flowers of different colors on Easter Sunday especially yellow and white colored flowers.
During Advent( preparation of coming of Jesus) the altar is decorated with very moderated amount of flowers, so that the joy of Christmas will not be experienced ahead of time.
Why do we use flowers at the church
- Flowers reminds us of the beauty of God’s creation and the joy it brings. The bright colors of the flowers shows the revelations of the beauty and goodness of God, emblems of His benevolence, images of His first true designs (Isa. 25, 1)
- The flowers also shows us the moral we should obtain within our heart just as the Saints. Innocence, holiness and beauty which is derived from Christ.
- The flowers on the altar signifies grace, virtue and heavenly warmth which radiates from the tabernacle of God .