Thursday, 25 July 2024
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The Mass Vestments

The Mass vestments were originally ordinary garments of the ancient Roman world. Although the fashions of dress changed with the passing centuries, the priest continued to wear at the altar the ancient Roman costume of his predecessors.

Thus, the priest, vested for mass, is a wonderful witness to the historical continuity of the Catholic Church with the primitive Church of Rome, founded by the Prince of the Apostles. In the order in which the priest puts them on, the Mass vestments are:

The Alb:
A long, white linen garment reaching to the feet. The Alb symbolizes the innocence and purity that should adorn the soul of the priest who ascends the altar.

The Cincture:
The cord used as a belt to gird the Alb. It symbolizes the virtues of chastity and continence required of the priest.

The Stole:
Roman magistrates wore a long scarf when engaged in their official duties, just as our judges wear a court gown. Whenever a priest celebrates Mass or administers the Sacraments, he wears the Stole as a sign that he is occupied with an official priestly duty.

The Chasuble:
The outer vestment put on over the others. Originally this was a very full garment, shaped like a bell and reaching almost to the feet all the way round. The Chasuble symbolizes the virtue of charity, and the yoke of unselfish service for the Lord, which the priest assumes at ordination.


Pope Benedict on the Priestly Vestments

Sacred Vessels