Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Whatever happened to full vesting?

October 19th, 2017, Promulgated by Diane Harris

The above link to the Vatican site describes what is expected of a priest celebrating Mass — any Mass, whether on Sunday or weekday — regarding vestments. There are prayers to be said during vesting too. And there is symbolism for each vestment. What does it mean when they are omitted?

In recent times, and in the last few years in particular, it seems that weekday Masses have become even more casual. Frequently I see priests wearing un-cinctured albs and sometimes even designer stoles in which one sometimes can’t distinguish what is supposed to be the predominant color (especially with rainbow stoles which seem to send a different and inappropriate message.)

The USCCB site references wearing of the chasuble in paragraph #337: “The vestment proper to the Priest Celebrant at Mass and during other sacred actions directly connected with Mass is the chasuble worn, unless otherwise indicated, over the alb and stole.”

The Vatican site states in paragraph #7: “Finally, the chasuble is put on, the vestment proper to him who celebrates the Holy Mass. … The prayer for the donning of the chasuble references the exhortation in the Letter to the Colossians (3:14) — “Above all these things [put on] charity, which is the bond of perfection” — and the Lord’s words in Matthew, 11:30: … “O Lord, who has said, “My yoke is sweet and My burden light,” grant that I may so carry it as to merit Thy grace.

Locally, it seems to be a practice each priest (or parish?) adopts for itself. In some churches, priests always wear the chasuble; in others, it seems, they only wear a chasuble on Sunday, wearing just an un-cintured alb and stole for weekday Mass.

Here is an excerpt from the Vatican link regarding cinctures (which seem to be treated as a bit more optional in the US). It reads in paragraph #4: “Over the alb and around the waist is placed the girdle or cincture, a cord made of wool or other suitable material that is used as a belt. All those who wear albs must also wear the cincture  ….  In the symbolism of the liturgical vestments the cincture represents the virtue of self-mastery, which St. Paul also counts among the fruits of the Spirit (cf. Galatians 5:22). The corresponding prayer, taking its cue from the first Letter of Peter (1:13), says: “…. Gird me, O Lord, with the cincture of purity, and quench in my heart the fire of concupiscence, that the virtue of continence and chastity may abide in me.”

If a celebrant so visibly wears an alb without cincture (and without the required chasuble which would otherwise hide the fact of the missing cincture) what about the prayers? What is he really saying to his flock about his commitment to the virtues reflected in each vestment? Or about just plain obedience? Just wondering.

I also wonder how a celebrant can repeatedly come breezing in one minute before Mass, get “minimally” vested, and then celebrate such an awesome Sacrament.   The people attending Mass might be forgiven for thinking that don’t need to prepare for Mass either. But let’s leave that for another day.



3 Responses to “Whatever happened to full vesting?”

  1. militia says:

    maybe we should start saying to the priests who do properly vest: “Father I am so glad that you vest appropriately for Mass. It really helps to remind me of the holiness and importance of the Mass.” Or something like that so they will know that we notice and appreciate it?

  2. christian says:

    I agree, militia!

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