Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Why was Fr wearing white at Mass today . . .?

I gather from one of our parishioners that her eagle-eyed young son had commented on the white vestments I was wearing at Mass on Sunday.

First of all, I'm always delighted to hear that our children are taking such an interest in what is happening at Mass and secondly, I'm also always very happy to do my best to answer any queries so do please let me know if your children have posed any similar questions during or after Mass.

So, to the answer . . .

At different times in the Church's year, the priest will wear different coloured vestments to indicate which season it is; for example for most of the year, in what we call 'Ordinary Time', the priest will wear green vestments.

It is not only the priest's vestments that will be green, the tabernacle 'veil' (cover) will also be green and if there is a Deacon present his vestments will also be green.

Here is a simple list which gives the 'liturgical colours' and when they are used:

Green: Ordinary Time

White/Gold: Feasts; Christmas, Easter, Weddings, Baptisms etc.

Red: Feasts of the Lord’s Passion, Blood and Cross; Martyrs;
Holy Spirit (Pentecost, Confirmation)

Purple: Advent, Lent, Penitence, Funerals

White with blue: Feasts of Our Lady

Rose: Gaudete Sunday (3rd Sunday of Advent) &
Laetare Sunday (4th Sunday of Lent)

Sunday was the Solemnity of Christ the Universal King. A 'Solemnity' is a very special feast and so white vestments are worn, or sometimes even gold.

Next Sunday is the beginning of Advent which is also the beginning of the Church's year and the colour of the vestments will change again. I hope all our young people will be watching carefully to see which colour it will be!


Anonymous said...

What an observant child. Obviously one of the "better behaved" and trained! Which is, I am sure due to his parents and the way the PP celebrates.

Great blog..... as usual!

Best wishes as you lead your people through Advent.

Fr Míċeál Beatty said...

Thank you Fr for your kind words and a blessed Advent to you

Fidelma Pogorelow said...

Father , thank you so much for answering this question and providing additional information on the other colours of vestments. Aidan and Jake will be keeping a close eye on what colour you are wearing at Mass,from now on.Many thanks FP.

Tracey Kerwick said...

Father, on your vestments sometimes there are letters along with the symbols. What do the letters JHS stand for on your vestments?

Fr Míċeál Beatty said...


Thank you for your question.

The 'JHS' or 'IHS' often found on vestments, altar cloths and elsewhere in church furnishing is a Christogram or 'short cut' for the name of Jesus.

It denotes the first three letters of the Greek name of Jesus (ΙΗΣΟΥΣ), iota-eta-sigma, or ΙΗΣ.

Because the Latin-alphabet letters I and J were not distinguished until the 17th century; and the Greek letter sigma can be represented by either an 'S' or a 'C'; 'JHS' and 'JHC' are equivalent to 'IHS' and 'IHC.