Lilies, tulips, daffodils, hydrangeas.

These are some of the flowers that will adorn the sanctuary for Easter at St. Michael Church in Brattleboro, and the sight of them — and their scent — will be a pleasure for those attending Mass there, especially after the barren days of Lent.

But the floral decorations will not be overdone, yet enough to help Mass-goers raise their minds and hearts to God.

“The decorations are a big part of making Easter joyful,” said Father Henry Furman, pastor.

“We want the decorations to be done in a way that gives glory to God, not a distraction from the Mass or the Eucharist,” he explained. “The Eucharist is the source and summit of the faith.”

Father Furman expressed gratitude for the volunteers who decorate the church for holidays, holy days, feast days and special occasions: “We have great gratitude for what they do, and their artistic talent is something we are very, very blessed to have.”

Parishioner Carmela Iannarone has been in charge of the decorating for the past couple of years and was a volunteer before. “It’s celebrating our Lord. It’s a gift to be able to do it,” she said. “It’s a meditation not work.”

Chris Carter, another parishioner, has been helping with the decorating for two years and brings her artistic eye to the designs. “I’m a servant of the Lord, so whatever I can do I want to do,” she said. “It’s so peaceful making God’s house beautiful.”

A flower gardener and by extension a flower arranger, she contends that God gives everyone talents, and “we’re all supposed to share what we have.”

She and Iannarone enjoy working together and both consider the opportunity to decorate the church a blessing. “We love doing it for the Lord,” Iannarone said.

—Originally published in the Spring issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.