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Sunday, November 11, 2018



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Various colors have deep meaning both in roses and in liturgical celebrations

Various colors have deep meaning both in roses and in liturgical celebrations


In November 1986, Congress designated the rose as the National Floral Emblem of the United States.

Most species are native to Asia, with smaller numbers native to Europe, North America, and northwestern Africa. Species, cultivars and hybrids are all widely grown for their beauty and are often fragrant.

Due to its beautiful and unique characteristics, the rose has developed ancient symbolic meanings throughout human history. The rose has inspired people over the ages to develop a language of roses by ascribing meanings to color, variety and the number of roses being given.

Sr. Kay Kinberger, in the Newsletter of Our Lady of Prompt Succor in Opelousas, LA, gives us the meaning of various common colors. She says, “When someone consciously chooses a certain color, they bring a new depth to the gesture of gifting roses. The most common colors are red, white, yellow, and pink.

“Red Roses: A red rose is an unmistakable expression of love. Red roses convey deep emotions whether it’s love, longing or desire. Red roses can also be used to convey respect, admiration or devotion and a deep red rose can be used to convey heartfelt regret and sorrow.

“White Roses: White is the color of purity, chastity and innocence. White flowers are generally associated with beginnings and make an ideal accompaniment to a first-time bride walking down the aisle. White flowers can also be used to convey sympathy and humility.

“Yellow Roses: Yellow roses are an expression of exuberance. Yellow roses evoke sunny feelings of joy, warmth and welcome. They are symbols of friendship and caring. The yellow rose does not carry an undertone of romance. It suggests purely platonic emotions.

“Pink Roses: Many variations of the pink rose exist. Over all, pink roses are used to convey gentle emotions such as admiration, joy and gratitude. Light pink rose blooms suggest sweetness and innocence. Deep pink rose blooms convey deep gratitude and appreciation. Pink roses also signify elegance and grace.”

The colors we use in our liturgical celebrations also have deep meanings. These colors work together to reflect the spirit of the particular season. The colors of the vestments that the priests wear express the character of the mysteries being celebrated. Color expresses emotional and spiritual realities to the worshiping community.

White, the color of joy and victory, is a festive color used for the seasons of Easter and Christmas. It is also used for the feasts of Our Lord, Mary, All Saints, Chair of Peter, Conversion of Paul, the Nativity of John the Baptist, St. John the Evangelist, the angels, and for saints who are not martyrs. It is also a reminder of the resurrection and is usually used at funerals. Gold may also be used on solemn occasions.

Red (the color of fire and blood) is used on the days when we celebrate Jesus’ passion: Passion (Palm) Sunday and Good Friday. It is also used for the feasts of the apostles and evangelists and for the celebrations of martyrs. Red (the color of fire) recalls the Holy Spirit and is used on Pentecost and for the sacrament of Confirmation.

Green, seen everywhere in plants and trees, symbolizes life, anticipation, and hope and is used during Ordinary Time. Ordinary means the weeks/months between the special seasons of Christmas, Lent, Advent and Easter, such as in the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Violet in Advent helps us to remember that we are preparing for the coming of Christ. Purple in Lent, the season of penance, repentance, and renewal, reminds us of our need to change.

Rose is an optional color and may be used on the Third Sunday of Advent and on the Fourth Sunday of Lent. It expresses the joy of anticipation for Christmas and Easter.