These centuries-old traditions are held dear by many French faithful.
Catholics around the world are united, but different cultures have traditions that set them apart.
In France, a country whose Catholic faith runs deep through the ages, there are many beautiful customs that traditional faith-filled families hold dear.
Religious objects are given pride of place and places for prayer are important.
So if you’d like to bring a little Gallic Catholic charm to your own home, click on the slideshow for some lovely ideas:
Prayer corner: More modern families have a “coin prière” — even in tiny Parisian flats. Popular in the U.S. too, these sacred spots come complete with favorite religious images, fresh flowers and candles.
Crucifixes: No bedroom is complete without a very large crucifix in France. Placed prominently above the bed, they may also be hung with a sprig of buxus plant, which was traditionally used in some European countries as an alternative to the more common palms we see on Palm Sunday.
Prayer books and psalters: In traditional French Catholic homes, bedside tables may be decorated with fresh flowers, and alongside them, or in a drawer, you will find prayer books and psalters.
Black veils: While it’s highly uncommon for practicing Catholics to wear black veils to Mass today, the vestiges of the past still are important to the family. Often made with devotion and love by deceased family members, the beautiful small veils might be draped in a strategic place in a bedroom, or carefully kept as a precious religious heirloom.
Framed saints: Along with flowers and prayer books you can also find framed pictures of saints that hold special meaning to the family, such as saints after whom family members have been named.
Lists of Mass times: As priests in the country have to manage up to 20 parishes, families have a copy of the Mass times and available churches close at hand in the kitchen.
Children’s decor: The family may place a smaller crucifix, along with the sprig of buxus plant, in their child’s room. They’ll also have a picture of their child’s name-saint placed in frame, or maybe a statue of that particular saint.
Charity box: Many homes have a cardboard box that is given out every year to fill with coins for hospitals. Children are encouraged to put money in the box and then hand it in at their local post office.
A chapel: This is perhaps a little hard for the average person to obtain, but many families, particularly in the country, had chapels on their grounds. While a few might still have this luxury, others may rely on having their own designated pew in the village church — especially families with a long history in the village.