Thursday, July 26, 2007


a. Amice
*Formerly worn on the head (symbolizing a helmet protecting against Satan's assaults)
*A priest briefly places it on his head, says a prayer and then wears it on his shoulders
**Prayer said: "Place, O Lord, the helmet of salvation on my head to resist the attacks of the devil."

b. Alb
*The alb is white to symbolize the purity in body and soul for which he prays
*The priest prays for purity as he puts on the linen, usually laced, garment
**Prayer said: "Make me white, O Lord, and purify my heart, so that being made white in the Blood of the Lamb, I may deserve an eternal reward."

c. Cincture
*Symbolizes continence (purity in thoughts and motives)
*'Binds' the alb and spiritually the concupiscence of the priest
**Prayer said: "Gird me, O Lord, with the cinture of purity and extinguish in my heart the fire of concupiscence so that, the virtue of continence and chastity always abiding in my heart, I may better serve Thee."

d. Maniple
*From 'manipulum' (something carried, handkerchief, sheaf)
*Worn on the left arm, symbolic of good works
**Prayer said: "May I deserve, O Lord, to carry this maniple of sorrow and penance so that I may one day enjoy the reward of all my labors."

e. Biretta
*Worn when the priest goes to and from the altar in the Tridentine Rite
*Ridges on the top are for convenience in removing it
*There is no particular meaning or symbolism, and it is not a formal 'vestment'

f. Papal Tiara
*Popes since Pope Paul VI have not worn the tiara
***Prayer: “Receive the tiara adorned with three crowns and know that thou art Father of princes and kings, Ruler of the world, Vicar of our Savior Jesus Christ”
g. Mitre
*A design of Oriental (Persia/Assyrian) origin; general use @ AD 1100
*The two points symbolize the Old and New Testaments of which the bishop is teacher
*Worn by the Pope, bishops and cardinals

h. Crosier
*From Latin 'crocia' ('crook or bend')
*An ornate version of the shepherd's staff from the 5th century
*Symbolizes the guiding and restraining authority of the bishop as shepherd of the flock of God

i. Humeral Veil
*From Latin 'humerus' or 'shoulder'
*Worn by the priest when carrying/giving Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
*Formerly worn by the priest carrying viaticum and the subdeacon when handling sacred vessels

j. Stole
*Originally a small robe, but reduced in size with time
*Worn by priests (ends down in front) and deacons (diagonally)
*Derived from the court uniform of Roman judges denoting authority
*Symbolizes immortality and the yoke of obedience of the ordained
**Prayer said: "Restore unto me, O Lord, the stole of immortality which I lost through the sin of my first parents and, although unworthy to approach Thy sacred Mystery, may I nevertheless attain to joy eternal."
k. Chasuble
*From the Latin 'casula' or 'little house'
*Symbolizes protection and preservation from evil (spiritual suit of armor)
*Matches the proper liturgical color, and often very ornamented with a cross on back
**Prayer said: "O Lord, Who hast said, 'My yoke is sweet and My burden light,' grant that I may so carry it as to merit Thy grace."

l. Surplice
*Originally a white garment worn 'over furs' ('superpellicium') of monks in the Middle Ages.
*Widely used in Mass by everyone from altar boys to priests
m. Cassock
*Traditional garment (not vestment) of the priest similar to a Roman tunic
*Black symbolizes death: the priest is 'dead to the world' after Holy Order
*The Pope's cassock is white, a bishop's violet and a cardinal's red

n. Cope
*Worn by the priest during the Asperges in the Tridentine Rite
*Its original use was an outer garment for processions (a 'raincoat')



Cappa Magna

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