Decorating the Church with "sticky notes"


Why is it that so many Catholic Churches seem to have homemade banners (“Rejoice!” see, look at my attempt at calligraphy!) and printed out signs (*“Hearts are for Rejoicing” *or some such), etc., taped and hung around the walls on the inside of the church. Reminds me of sticky notes taped all over someone’s computer at work. These are temporary banners, not part of the walls. One parish I visited had strung up the banners with instructions to…I forget…go out and evangelize or rejoice in the good news or something…I forget, exactly, but I shouldn’t have forgotten because the print was about 4 feet high and placed in a huge sign running the width of the church, hung up very closed to the ceiling (maybe, like God shouting down to us?).

Yesterday, I attended Mass at a old, ornate, turn-of-the-century ethnic parish and amidst the beautiful stained glass windows and ornate religious pictures and woodwork were legal-sized pieces of paper someone had taped on the walls. They were printed out in a bright, garish color with some bland, inane two- or three-word slogan. It wasn’t enough to see one or two of these…they had them taped all around the walls like stations of the cross…all saying the same thing! Totally distracting, ugly, childish and silly. Makes me feel like I entered a kindergarten room, or a pep rally before a big game. What was Father thinking? :ouch:


I don’t care for it reminds me of the horrible protestant school I went to the schools chapel had tons of those kinds of banners I’ve noticed when I attended a wake at my grandmother’s protestant church it had lots of those banners as well I just don’t care for it personally it looks tacky to me a bit.


A church is not your personal facebook page. Every time I open mine I get some supposedly deep and meaningful message in calligraphy, normally with a cute cat, bespoking a female hand. Or an angel with a new age message of hope and happiness which has to be sent to twenty others or God’s wrath and doom will befall me.
Whoever runs our modern Parish churches seem to be of the same ilk, and is a sign of the level of our spirituality; banal, mediocre and homespun with no regard for two thousand years of culture, spiritual erudition and the basic beauty of our Scriptures we can so easily call upon.


I think it’s a holdover of the 1970s mentality.

It’s the old idea that the church building isn’t supposed to be something permanent, but temporary. Take out the statues, paint the walls white, and replace sacred art with something that will only be there today, but something new will be there tomorrow. It’s also the idea of making the church-building as well as the liturgy itself something “childish”—just like putting Junior’s latest attempt at coloring on the refrigerator door. “Look, isn’t that cute!”

There’s nothing wrong with banners as such. They’ve been used in churches since time immemorial. The Eastern Churches have a wonderful and beautiful tradition of very dignified icon-banners. I have no doubt that at the upcoming canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II we will see huge (and I do mean HUGE) banners of the new saints displayed in St Peter’s square.

Unfortunately, there’s almost nothing the Church can do to prevent bad taste from infecting the liturgy. Pray for better seminary formation, and pray for a right understanding of Vatican II.

It’s going to take us a long time to get over the 1970s.


This is exactly my sentiment. I visited the parish associated with where I went to grade school and behind the ambo there was a large banner that used PRAY as an acronym. Tacky, out of place and distracting - you’d look at the priest reading the gospel and your eyes would be drawn to this big purple banner with yellow writing above his dead.


Not a banner fan, either. Reminds me of arts & crafts projects from 1970s ccd classes!!


It reminds me of the days of “Now children, take out your crayons, it’s time for religion class.” :frowning:


They are absolutely dreadful.

There is a parish church in my former archdiocese that uses banners. This church was constructed in the 80s and also has “stain glass” windows. Unlike traditional stain glass, which depicts scenes from the Gospel or the saints, this stain glass is simply blobs of bright colors…no attempt at any form or shape of substance or meaning. The effect is absolutely disgusting. I would occasionally stop by that parish as the Dominican priests had excellent preaching and made great confessors, but the white washed walls, Protestant inspired praise and worship music, felt banners galore, and hideous, vomit inducing stain glass blob windows was always a painful experience.


People, there is a sticky about complaint threads.


Actually, you may be closer to the truth than you know. I am guessing that the “artwork” you dislike may actually be some of the children’s work from CCD or the parish school, if there is one. Just because it is art does not mean there is no learning behind it or that it is like the bad old days of collages and mobiles at the expense of scripture and doctrine.

I have been in many churches that are making a concerted effort to catechize their children. They are trying to make them feel part of the Church. They are hoping to reverse the trend of more and more young people leaving the Church or not continuing to worship as they become young adults.

Are some of the pieces unattractive? Yes. But what is more unattractive is the life of a child who does not know God. I am willing to fight a bit of a distraction if it will let His children come.

As I said, this is only a guess. Perhaps there is another purpose. In any event, we don’t have the information to condemn them. A call to the pastor is in order with a simple question, Father, I have been noticing the artwork in the church. Where is it from?" The answer might surprise you!


The parishes I go to don’t use these things. I really don’t care for banners and signs like that. I think they are silly and suited more for kindergarten.I guess it’s a holdover from the 60s or so and people think they have to do this kind of thing to “participate”.


True, and now there is a complaint thread about stickies :smiley:


:thumbsup: :clapping:


Chefmomster2: The poster you are addressing IS the Father…Fr. David is a priest and a pastor. It is all well and good to make children feel included and to invite them to create art as part of their catechism, but this doesn’t mean that we should adorn the temple of the Lord with such art. Church documents on sacred architecture throughout the history of the Church are very clear that all features of the church building should be designed to inspire and to convey the doctrine of the Church with elegance and reverence. There is a time and place for everything. Parishes have been trying “novel” ways to keep young people interested for decades and it hasn’t worked. Perhaps what they really crave is exposure to the sublime beauty of our Sacred Tradition?


I love it, Father! Thank you.


:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

I once took a class of 4th graders to a 15 minute session before the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration (with faith affirmation beforehand that hey guys, this really is Jesus hidden there!) Much to my amazement, even the trouble maker in the crowd did not fidget and prayed silently with the sheet of prayers I had prepared for them.


I recognize that he is a Father. Is he the pastor at the parish in question? That is the person to be approached on this topic. I assume that the pastor of a parish would have the ability to refuse such a thing if he found it to be inappropriate. I can only assume that he does not find cause to disapprove.

I would have to take issue with the idea that these artworks are irreverent. We don’t have any statements about the intent of the artists involved. They may not be the sort of religious art which speak to all of us. I wager to say that they were prepared and hung in the reverence for the Lord which speaks to them. The artworks are not part of the architecture. They are a temporary event.

The sublime beauty of the Sacred Tradition can be approached in many ways. In order to move people to that spiritual level of understanding, you must start where they are. Certainly reaching this ever-deepening understanding of Faith is something we can all agree upon as a goal. A good program will teach the scripture, dogma, and doctrine of the faith. It must also teach of God’s desire to gather all to Him. This is NOT the the hippy-dippy approach that was used in the 70’s. This is a part of a broad program which includes not just the indispensable bricks and mortar of the faith, but also the love, forgiveness, and approachability of our personal God. I have seen it work with many children.

Blessing of the Children. (NAB-R Matthew 19)
13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked them,
14 but Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
15 After he placed his hands on them, he went away.



Respectfully, I think your statements limit the power of God and the manner in which He does His work, and I believe this based upon personal experience. Children can, indeed, on a spiritual level discern the presence of God without external trappings. As an unbaptized pagan child with absolutely no knowledge of God, when I was eight years old I was given permission to attend a vacation Bible school. Our neighbor picked me up and took me for two weeks. Although we had arts and crafts, that alone would have been meaningless to me had God not spoken in His voice to plant the seed of faith that He was there and loved me. It was the conviction, even to an 8-year old mind, that a transcendent voice was somehow speaking, even though I had no knowledge of who this Jesus was that they kept speaking about. And eventually at the age of 14, I independently entered the Catholic Church, although I had not gone to a church since those early days of my first experience. It is pure grace and the movement of God that enters the mind and soul of a child and I daresay He does not need banners or signs to do so.

I would add however, as a catechist, I do understand the benefit of teaching and enforcement via art. But can we leave it in the classrooms and on the walls of homes so as not to detract from the Real Presence, which is our All?


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