Ask Ambrose: Burying the Alleluia

Dear Ambrose: I have heard that some churches “bury the Alleluia” before Lent. What gives? #dreadinglent

Dear Dreading Lent,

As you probably know, the Church abstains from saying or singing Alleluia during the season of Lent.

This goes along with simpler adornments in the church and eliminating flowers, thus emphasizing the penitential nature of Lent. A wonderful teaching tool is to have a ritual “burying” or saying goodbye to Alleluia. This can be a project for all ages, decorating a poster or a banner. It you have artistic folks in your parish they might make a festive banner. At the conclusion of the service on the Last Sunday after the Epiphany or at your Shrove Tuesday celebration, the congregation can process to the designated place and the banner can be buried in the church yard in front of all in attendance; the banner will then be “resurrected” on Easter morning.

To find a simple ritual for burying the Alleluia see

NOTE: It is important to do two things of a practical nature – 1) put the banner in a plastic bag to protect it; and 2) put a flag in the ground where the burial site is.