Color plays an important role in our daily lives. It varies by seasons in nature and in the colors we wear. Color also plays an important role in the life of the church. The basic colors used in the church year are white, ivory or gold for festivals such as Christmas, Easter, Trinity Sunday, and All Saints day, to name a few. Vibrant red chasubles and stoles are Festival Colors used on Pentecost, Feasts of the Martyrs and often for ordinations and installation services. Green is used for ordinary times. Blue is used in some churches for Advent as well as for the Mary Festival days. Vivid purples and deep violets are the colors used for Lent to denote a Penitential season. Many other colors fall under this season, including scarlet, black, indigo, and rose.
Rose is a color that falls under the heading of the purples and violets of the seasons of Advent and Lent. Rose as a vestment color is seen and used twice during the church year calendar. The days set aside for rose vestments and altar hangings are the Third Sunday of Advent and the Fourth Sunday of Lent. Often the first question someone may ask who is unfamiliar with the use of rose is, “Why is the priest wearing pink vestments!????!”And that is where the learning begins. Using rose vestment can be an aid to a pastor or priest to teach about the seasons of the church year.
The seasons of Advent and Lent are intended to be thoughtful, reflective, mournful, as well as times of anticipation. The readings of the church year reflect that penitential mood, often for weeks on end.
We often get weary, and yet in the midst of this season, there is a brief glimpse of things to come. That glimpse comes in the third week of Advent and the fourth week of Lent. For one brief week during these seasons, the readings appointed for the day lighten a bit, giving a hint to the joy that awaits on Christmas and Easter morn.
The message tells us to hold on – the penitential season will soon come to an end. To help the pastor and priest with this change in the midst of the season is the rose vestments. The colors lighten to reflect a momentary change in the midst of the season. They are a way of letting people know that something special is happening for two distinct Sundays during the life of the church.
So too, our workroom lightens for a moment in the midst of sewing Advent. Our rose monastic chasuble and stole are now available as part of the Saint Ignatius of Antioch Ecclesiastical Collection of Church Vestments.
The color is a rose accented by a cranberry orphrey with Rose Pugin trim. The original Rose vestment set planned for this year was completely different. Yet, plans have a way of sometimes not working the way they were intended. The colors may not go together, or the fabrics look too dull. One tries everything and learns a thousand ways why colors refuse to work together, despite what the experts’ color charts claim.
In frustration, one is tempted to give up, yet the desire is there to persevere. Suddenly the unexpected happens and the colors sing aloud! They blend with perfect harmony. Everything is right and the project comes together in an instant, down to the final details.Such is the case with this set. It almost did not happen this year. Yet we rejoice that God is good and through Him, all things are possible.
It is finished. Advent will come, and for a moment in the midst of the season, there will be a rose of hope to point us to the coming Messiah!
Soli Deo Gloria
A note of thanks:
There is a lovely lady who was my encouragement to keep going throughout this project, even when it wasn’t working. Her perseverance was a tremendous aid that encouraged me to work on the design and color issues that plagued this project for months. She brings joy and delight every time we chat, albeit by email. She works diligently for the church and it is her joy to serve others. I am one who benefits and am blessed with her kind heart and spirit. Thank you, L. J. for helping to bring this project to life. Because of her kindness, many may learn and rejoice in the joy that awaits us on Gaudete and Laetare Sundays.