Sancta Missa


By Rev. William A. O'Brien, M.A.


Previous | Index | Next

1. The Character of the Vestments.

The vestments worn by the priest in the Mass and some of the other services of the Church are as follows:

a) AT LOW MASS: the amice, alb, cincture, stole, maniple and chasuble.
b) AT HIGH MASS: Same as for Low Mass.
c) AT SOLEMN MASS: The celebrant wears same vestments as when saying Low Mass. The deacon wears the amice, alb, cincture, deacon's stole, maniple and dalmatic. The subdeacon wears the amice, alb, cincture, maniple and dalmatic. The dalmatic now replaces the tunic worn formerly by the subdeacon. At certain seasons the deacon and subdeacon wear the "folded chasuble" in place of the dalmatics; besides, the deacon at certain parts of Masswears the "Broad Stole" in place of the folded chasuble.

( Click to enlarge )

1. Amice. 2. Alb. 3. Cincture. 4. Stole. 5. Maniple. 6. Chasuble. 7. Deacon’s stole. 8. Dalmatic. 9A. Folded Chasuble (back). 9B. Same (Front). 10. Broad Stole. 11. Purificator. 12. Pall. 13. Chalice Veil. 14. Burse. 15A. Corporal (folded). 15B. Same (opened out).

1. Surplice. 2. Preacher’s Stole. 3. Cope. 4. Mass and Benediction Veil. 5. Benediction Burse.

d) AT BENEDICTION: The celebrant wears the surplice, stole and cope, and also the humeral veil when giving Benediction. If it is Solemn Benediction, the celebrant vests in amice, alb, cincture, stole and cope. The deacon and subdeacon wear the same vestments as for Solemn Mass, except the maniples. Certain vestments used in the service of the Church must be blessed before being used; concerning others, there is doubt, while there are some that need not be blessed. Those that are blessed are called sacred vestments.

2. The Sacred Vestments. 

These must be blessed. They are as follows: amice, alb, cincture, maniple, stole, chasuble, corporal, pall.

NOTE: Vestments, the necessity for blessing of which is doubtful, but which may be blessed wherever customary, are the dalmatic, tunic, cope, and surplice. Vestments that need not be blessed are the veil, burse, purificator, humeral veil, and finger towel.

3. The Care and Storage of Vestments

Proper care of vestments is real economy and adds many years to their service. The following suggestions will help in preserving the sacred vestments.

Chasubles, dalmatics, and their accessories, such as stoles, etc, if stored in drawers should be laid flat. Care should be taken to see that there are no wrinkles or folds in them. The stole, maniple, veil and burse, should be laid flat upon the respective chasuble set to which they belong. All should be covered with a cloth to protect them against dust. If these vestments are hung in a cabinet, there should be a hanger for each set. This hanger should be provided with a device or crossbar, on which the accessories to a chasuble such as stole, maniple, veil, etc, may also be hung. A cloth to protect them should be hung over each set.

One method of laying away vestments.

Copes and albs in vestment cabinet.

If the chasuble is ornamented with raised embroidery, especially if of gold or silver, a pad should be put between the embroidered parts to prevent rubbing, with consequent injury to the vestment. In order that the embroidery on such vestments be not injured or subjected to cracking, it is inadvisable to fold the vestments inside out when laying in drawers.

4. Vestments to be Hung.

Albs and surplices must be handled with great care because of their delicate texture. They should be hung on their loops in a cabinet or closet, for otherwise they will soil easily.

Copes should be hung on a hanger. It is not advisable to fold and store them flat in a drawer. All vestments, whether in drawers or on hangers should be covered to protect them against dust.

5. Linens: Purificators, Palls, Corporals, Amices, Finger Towels. 

After laundering and before use these should be kept, each kind in a separate drawer. Another special drawer should be reserved for the soiled linens. However, it must be noted that soiled purificators, palls and corporals, i.e., such as have been used in the Sacrifice of the Mass, are not to be handled by a lay person but must be given their first washing by a priest or one in Major Orders. Further washing or laundering may be done by any worthy lay person.

6. The Colors of the Vestments.

The colors of the vestments change according to the "day," i.e.-the feast that is celebrated or the occasion on which they are used. The colors are white, red, violet or purple, green, black, rose, gold and silver.

There is a small book called "Ordo." This book is found in every sacristy. It is a guide to the priest, telling him what feast is to be celebrated on a given day. This book also designates the color of the vestments and altar decorations for each day. This is usually done in the form of an abbreviated Latin term. Some of the "Ordos" contain a special Color Calendar in English. In the following schedule, the Latin terms for the various colors are given with their English meaning, and in the columns opposite each color, the days are stated on which the respective color is worn.


When Used


On feasts of Our Lord (except on the Feast of the Precious Blood); On feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary; the angels and all the saints who are not martyrs.

(Rub.– R.)

On feasts of Martyrs; feasts of the Precious Blood; also on Whitsunday (Pentecost) and throughout the octave.

(Vir. - V.)

On Sundays and ferial days from the end of the Octave of the Epiphanyto Septuagesima; and on Sundays and ferial days in the season after Pentecost. 


On Sundays and ferial days during Advent and Lent.

V. signifies "Votive," i.e., any "Votive Mass" may be said that day.
R. signifies that a Requiem Mass (in black vestments) is permitted.




Copyright © 2008. Biretta Books, Ltd. Chicago, IL. All Rights Reserved.

For the Sacristan

Cantius Web Store has a comprehensive collection of resources just for the sacristan! We offer exclusive products for the Traditional Latin Mass. We may have just what you are looking for!
Click the link below to shop or just take a look!
Tutoriel pour la Messe Tridentine en Latin (Français) | Tutorial on the Tridentine Latin Mass (English)
Online Tutorial for Priests | Rubrics of the 1962 Roman Missal | Learning to Serve at the Altar

Spirituality of the Tridentine Mass | Liturgical Books and Resources | Sacred Music of the Liturgy
From Sacristy to Altar | The Liturgical Year

What's New | Frequently Asked Questions
Letter from the SuperiorSite Dedication | Contact Us | How You Can Help

Copyright © 2010. Canons Regular of St. John Cantius. All Rights Reserved.