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Priest's Vestments & Liturgical Colors
The priest wears special clothes or vestments at mass to show that mass is a special celebration. Many of the vestments the priests, deacons, and altar servers wear have their origins in the clothing worn by people during the Middle Ages.
The alb is a long white robe that the priest puts on over regular clothes. It is white to remind us of goodness and purity.
The cincture is a cord the priest ties around the waist. It is used like a belt.
The stole is a long piece of cloth worn around the shoulders. Priests wear stoles whenever they are celebrating mass or the sacraments.
The chasuble is put on over the alb, cincture, and stole. It is like a cape that travelers wore a long time ago. The color of the chasuble tells us what kind of feast we are celebrating.
The altar server usually wears a cassock and a surplice.
White expresses purity, joy, and glory. It is used for celebrations of the joyful and glorious mysteries of the life of Jesus, feasts of Mary, and the saints who are not martyrs. It is also used during a Mass of the Resurrection.
Red expresses love. It is used on all feasts of the Lord's passion and of the Holy Cross. It is used for the feasts of the apostles and martyrs. It is also used for the feast of Pentecost and the feasts of the Holy Spirit.
Violet expresses penance, sorrow, and/or waiting. Violet (or purple) is used during the seasons of Advent to remind us about the hope-filled wait for the coming of Jesus, and it is used during Lent as a sign of penance.
Green expresses hope and trust. It is used during Ordinary Time of the Church year to show that we are a people of faith and hope.
Rose expresses joy. It is used in place of purple/violet on the Third Sunday of Advent and on the Fourth Sunday of Lent to show that we are on our way to Christmas and Easter.
Gold expresses honor and praise. It is sometimes used in place of white.
Blue expresses joyful waiting and hopefulness. It can be used during the season of Advent in place of purple or violet.