The Church in our country is in the midst of a year focused on reviving our love for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. This is a perfect time for us to revisit the Mass in its parts and grow in our knowledge of why we do what we do. The best place to start is at the beginning, but an even better place is right before we begin! What does a priest wear at Mass, and why does he wear it?


We have taken our cue from the priests of the Old Testament – God instructed them to wear vestments, so we also wear them. The vestments themselves have changed a little, but the fact remains that we lifted our vesture from the priests of the Jewish Temple.


A priest first wears an “amice” that is tucked into his collar. It’s a simple tool with a simple purpose – to keep the priest’s gross, sweaty neck off of everything else. Over the amice, the priest wears a white garment called an “alb.” The alb symbolizes his baptism and that he has been “washed clean in the blood of the Lamb,” that is, washed of sin by Jesus. He next wears a rope around his waist called a “cincture.” This symbolizes that his heart is “tied up” in God, so to speak, and thus represents the chastity he is meant to live.


Next, he places a band of fabric around his neck called a “stole.” The stole symbolizes his authority to act in the person of Christ, the great High Priest. Finally, he wears a “chasuble,” an ornate robe that points to the love of God “which covers all things.” The stole always goes under the chasuble, for the symbol of his authority is less important than the symbol of God’s love.


Fr. Ryan


















































































































































































































































































































































































































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