Here’s a good sign that my students are starting to feel at home with me. I put my Advent candles and purple cloth into place on the prayer table in the center of the room. One of the girls said, “I love purple! It’s my favorite color!” She walked over to the prayer table, took one of the purple candles, and carried it back to her desk, where she set it down and admired it as though she had just purchased it for herself. I said with a big smile, “I’m glad you like it, but you can’t just take one of my candles!” She replied, “Then can the Advent table be my desk today?” It’s that kind of playfulness that creates a very comfortable atmosphere for learning.
About Joe Paprocki 2739 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.
I came across your posting about the purple Advent candles and cloth. If I understand it correctly, purple represents penance (it’s the same color as for Lent), but why do some churches use blue instead of purple? Have been wondering about this for ages and would be glad if you or one of the readers could enlighten me.
Paul, thanks for the question about the color of Advent. According to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (#346-d), “violet or purple is used in Advent and Lent.” In our book “Bringing Catechesis and Liturgy Together: Let the Mystery Lead You” (Twenty-Third Publications), Todd Williamson and I write: “During Advent, a form of purple is used that differentiates this season from Lent. The purple of Advent is a bluer violet tone (more suggestive of the darker late autumn skies) while Lent maintains a royal purple that is more reddish, specifically suggesting the penitential spirit of Lent. Both shades of purple, however, suggest the kingship of Jesus that is celebrated in both seasons: during Advent we joyfully anticipate the coming of our king in his fullness while during Lent, we commemorate how that kingship was achieved through the suffering, death, and Resurrection of the King of Glory!” Suffice to say, the color of Advent should not strictly speaking be blue but should be a violet – a bluish purple.
Thanks for the response. I always wondered… and now I know!
Glad I can be of help, Paul