by Catherine Fournier
This is a very simple, but effective way to bring the life and seasons of the Church alive for your family. The passing of the seasons outside our homes brings a pattern and rythmn to our lives with their changing colours and light levels. Each season has its own beauty.
The same is true of the liturgical seasons. The symbolic colours (green for life and hope, purple for penance and expiation, white for innocence) remind us of the messages of the season, help us focus our attention on the teachings and themes of the season and delight our eye and hold our attention with their changes.
Changeable coloured cloths covering the table where the family gathers to eat and talk about their day, is a simple way to reinforce the liturgical colouring of the church.
Buy or otherwise obtain (thrift shops?) enough cotton/polyester broadcloth to cover your table in seven colours: green, purple, white, red, rose, gold, and blue. I have substituted blue for Marian feasts instead of black. Also purchase a sheet of heavy clear plastic tablecloth large enough to cover your table and hang down the sides. In addition to being easy to wipe and keep clean, and heavy enough to hold down the lighter broadcloth, the clear plastic will protect the coloured tablecloth and prolong its life.
Hem all four sides of the broadcloth with matching or complementary thread. If you are artistic, creative or adventurous, light-weight braid in complentary colours would make an attractive addition to the cloth. Run it around the edge and in the centre of the cloth, a rectangle for a rectangular table, a circle for a circular table.
We have found that taping or stapling the tablecloth to the underside or edge of the table, then taping the edges of the plastic undeneath the table make it easier to wipe the table and keep it clean. For feasts, we temporarily cover the 'seasonal' cloth with something appropriate to the occasion - a brightly colored woven tablecloth for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, for example.
Green: Ordinary Time, between Pentecost and the first
Sunday of Advent, and again between Epiphany and Ash
Purple: Advent and Lent
White: Easter and Christmas week, the feasts of the Angels and all saints who were not martyrs.
Red: Pentecost, all feasts of Our Lord's Cross and Passion (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Saturday) the feasts of the Apostles and all martyrs.
Rose: The third Sunday of Advent and the fourth Sunday of Lent.
Gold: Can be used in place of white, red or green.
Blue: Marian Feasts.
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