More Q&A: Colour of Hangings, Double Genuflection - 10th May 2015

Q: Could you please provide some guidance on what colour the hangings should be in Holy Week?

I thought I had read recently that the purple hangings of Lent should be packed away before Passion Sunday when red is the liturgical colour. However, the Ordo refers to ‘violet’ for the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week.  Do we remove our red hangings after Passion Sunday and revert to purple until Holy Thursday’s Mass of the Lord’s Supper?

Are there any guidelines/references regarding this?

A: There are no guidelines regarding the colour of hangings in the church simply because they are not an aspect of the official requirements for the liturgical environment and furnishings.

There is no obligation to have “hangings” in the church (sounds like executions!) and if they are used, they can be any style or colour considered appropriate. Of course you wouldn’t choose pink with black spots, but you could if you wanted to!

The colour listed in the liturgical books such as the Ordo applies only to the presider’s vestments.

What you do about the next few days depends on several things, including how difficult it is to change the hangings over. Will there be Mass in the church over the next few days? If not, not an issue. Even if there is, just take the red ones down and have no hangings until Holy Thursday.

It amazes me that people are so hung up on hangings (pun intended!). At the end of last year I had several calls from a lady because people in her parish were having an argument about what shade of violet to use for their banners in Advent.

I could not help wondering if they put as much effort into making sure that people were never given Communion from the tabernacle at Mass. Now that IS an important liturgical matter because it has theological, ecumenical and liturgical implications!

Q: I was recently asked if a double genuflection is made when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed on the altar, as in adoration. I checked the General Instruction of the Roman Missal and paragraph 274 refers only to a “bending of the right knee” so I am assuming the answer to the above would be “no”. Is that correct?

A: Although the General Instruction of the Roman Missal applies only to the celebration of Mass and not to Exposition and Adoration, the answer it gave you is correct.

Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass is the rite that covers Exposition, Benediction, etc. It says: "A single genuflection is made in the presence of the blessed sacrament, whether reserved in the tabernacle or exposed for public adoration." (#84)

The only reference to a double genuflection or kneeling is with regard to the minister at Benediction:

"Toward the end of the exposition the priest or deacon goes to the altar, genuflects, and kneels. Then a hymn or other eucharistic song is sung. Meanwhile the minister, while kneeling, incensesthe sacrament if the exposition has taken place with the monstrance." (#97)



Elizabeth Harrington