Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Eight items necessary for flawless Lenten environment

Lent calls us to clear away the things that distract us so that we can focus on the intense, retreat-like atmosphere of the season. Here are eight items necessary to help you prepare a great Lenten environment.

  1. Clean and clutter-free pews, vestibules, sanctuaries, and reconciliation rooms.

  2. Water in all the fonts.

  3. A dignified Book of the Gospels.

  4. A dignified Book of the Elect and a place to highlight it.

  5. If possible, incense (the good stuff), fresh charcoal, and a beautiful thurible and stand.

  6. Fresh candles, especially for the fourth Sunday of Lent.

  7. A substantial cross (preferably the one to be venerated on Good Friday), especially for the final week of Lent (cf., Liturgical Music Today, 48).

  8. A moment of substantial communal silence and stillness before Mass.

And some things to use less of:
  • sand

  • cactus

  • dead, dried, or fake things

  • oil lamps shaped to look like candles

  • rocks in the font

  • sand in the font

  • banners with symbols or words on them

  • vestments with symbols or words on them

  • altar and ambo cloths with symbols or words on them

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