Ask a Franciscan

Flowers During Lent?

Q: Years ago, it was not permitted to have flowers in the sanctuary during Lent. Is that still the case? Where is this issue addressed?

A: In general, this rule remains. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (2002) states: “Moderation should be observed when decorating altars. During Advent the floral decoration of the altar should be marked by a moderation that reflects the character of this season, but nevertheless, does not anticipate the full joy of the Nativity of the Lord. During Lent the altar is not to be decorated with flowers. Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent), solemnities and feasts are exceptions to this rule.

Floral decorations should always be modest and placed around the altar rather than on top of it” (#305). Regarding the exceptions mentioned above, the feast of the Chair of Peter is Feb. 22. The March solemnities (Joseph on the 19th and the Annunciation on the 25th) are rescheduled if they fall on a Sunday of Lent or during Holy Week.


Lent, A Time of Mercy and Grace

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