In the northern hemisphere, it is harvest time in rural areas. Depending on the crop, of course.
For art & environment groups in parishes, it is time to roll in seasonal decorations. What I’ve seen in parishes for the last forty-some years: corn stalks, pumpkins and other gourds, colored leaves, flowers one might see still blooming in September/October gardens.
But I let a contrary thought pop up in my mind, and it led to more questions:
- Do harvest decorations make sense for urban and suburban parishes?
- Why not stick with flowers?
- Why decorate at all?
Sit in the purple armchair and make a determination for your parish. What sort of fall decorations would you use, if any? And when would you begin to display them?
There are urban and suburban gardens and even farms.
So I guess the assumption seems to be that the decorations should be foraged in situ….
So, I will share a story of foraged sanctuary decorations. It’s the morning of a wedding in late October in 1948. There’s a nuptial Mass scheduled for late in the morning at St Augustine’s (then Church now Cathedral) in Bridgeport CT. Everyone’s fasting until Mass. The bridal party sans the couple go out foraging for freshly fallen leaves. Not difficult. With the pastor’s approval (secured by the bride in advance), they strew the sanctuary with the leaves after the parish daily Mass and before the nuptial Mass. … The couple, who had waited several (5-6) years to get married because of The War and Finishing College started before The War, stayed together for 66 years to the month, when the bride died. The groom misses her terribly, but is enjoying something of an Indian summer in his early 90s.
I don’t like displaying murdered flowers – they have no theological message at all. My personal brain is sitll hard-wired to the southen hemisphere, desptie living in the northern fo now. So I’d display none. But I’d rejoice that others do have harvest displays which symbolize what local people have harvested.