Flowers in Church during Lent


The Roman Missal says that flowers are not to be used to decorate the altar during Lent (with a few exceptions). Are flowers prohibited from use any where in a church also then? Someone requested that their two small bouquets be put in our chapel in memory of a loved one. If we put them beside the altar (on stands in front of statues) would this be liturgically permissible?


I would say it’s a “no”.
Perhaps you could ask the people with the request if they would like to have a Mass said for their loved one instead? A Mass would be the only alternative that would be better in their eyes I suppose.
If you explain the church policy gently and with compassion, they might agree.
I totally get this. They are grieving, and don’t see a problem with it.
Another option might be to donate a lovely shrub or rosebush for the parish grounds as a permanent memorial .


Lady Clare,

Do you ever sleep? LOL

I’m restless tonight.



I’ll say no. A display for but one day on the upcoming Laetare Sunday might be appropriate, if these flowers can be kept alive for those few days. After that, though, it is rather alien to the season.


The problem is - the flowers are already purchased and the people aren’t catholic that the Mass option would be a good idea.


Are there statues/shrines outside of the sanctuary, like the vestibule? Thus may be an option.


Not really.
The bouquets are not large and not terribly conspicuous and they are not on the altar.


The first and last rule governing the activities of the Church is the salvation of souls.

While placing flowers in a chapel to decorate the altar during Lent is not generally allowed, the situation described here seems to suggest a good pastoral approach would be to allow it. The people donating the flowers are unaware of the customs and practices of Lent, and purchased the flowers with the best of intentions. It may present an opportunity to educate the purchasers on both the traditions of the Church and the compassion of God.

Ultimately it is up to the pastor/rector of the place. We are talking about a man made rule here, not divine law.


OH I would love to post this in another thread…so many times people on the forums believe that if you do not follow the rules to the letter, then you are disobedient and completely in error…without any “pastoral” considerations. I said as much in another thread about playing instrumental music for a funeral, and one of the posters is DEMANDING that I apologize for my opinion.
Thanks for confirming what people who work in parishes deal with daily: ministering to people where they are at…


Yesterday, would have been a perfect day because it was the feast of the Annunciation and flowers were permissible.


I agree with you here. My daughter got married during Lent (yes, that is possible,) and we did have flowers, although not a profusion. Simple, mostly greenery arrangements, and we had white bows on the family pews. There was an organist and string quintet playing for the Mass and before and after. Every bit of which was deemed by the priest to be appropriate.

All of which will be looked on with horror by some, I am sure.


Next Sunday as well; on Laetare Sunday (4th Sunday of Lent), flowers are permissible, as is the use of the organ/musical instruments, at Mass.


Ultimately it would be the pastor’s decision. I don’t see anything in the Roman Missal that forbids flowers in the church in general during Lent - only around the altar. Of course, if where you want to put the flowers is still nearby the altar, it may not be allowed.
I don’t agree with the idea that we have to cater to everyone’s feelings for the “salvation of souls”. Yes, it’s a good sentiment that the people wanted to offer the flowers and if there’s someplace they can be placed that isn’t near the altar, I’d say go for it. If there’s no other place the flowers can be placed and the pastor doesn’t allow it, well, it’s kind of like someone giving you a gift you can’t use.


I don’t think there is anything wrong with putting them somewhere…not on the altar.

But of course how appropriate is it that in the Gospel this week Jesus is getting in trouble for making clay and healing on the Sabbath? :stuck_out_tongue:


It is not “catering to everyone’s feelings” - it is a chance to offer an encounter with Jesus in charity and love; a chance to evangelize and catechize; a chance to bring someone closer instead of pushing them away.

closed #16

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