The Worship Committee meets periodically with the clergy to discuss, plan and prepare the liturgical events of our parish. We, at Saint Anne Parish take this responsibility very seriously. It is through Worship & Liturgy: what we pray, is what we believe, is how we live. Sunday, the ‘Lord’s Day’ is the principal day for the celebration of the Eucharist because it is the day of the Resurrection. It is the pre-eminent day of the liturgical assembly, the day of the Christian family, and the day of joy and rest from work. Sunday is ‘the foundation and kernel of the whole liturgical year’ (SC 106).
Vestments add expression to the liturgical year
By Christina Lee Knauss (The Catholic Miscellany)
The beautiful, ornate vestments worn by priests are one of the most visual elements of the Mass. Different colors and decorations, often embroidered in rich, glimmering fabrics add to the mystery of the Eucharist, remind us of the season we are in, and enhance our experience of the celebration. Vestments signify the role the priest plays in the life of the Church. Bur how much do you know about those symbolic garments? All priests must wear three garments to celebrate Mass, according to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM). What are the vestments called?
ALB – The alb is a white, long-sleeved garment that is cinched at the waist. It derives from the classic Roman tunic and its name comes from the Latin for white, albus, according to author Sarah Bailey in her book Sacred Vestments. This was one of the earliest garments adopted by Christians, primarily because of its similarity to much of the clothing that was worn in the first centuries of the church.
STOLE – Evan writes that the stole, which is draped around the neck, has its origins in the Roman orarium, which was worn by people to designate their membership in certain organizations and rank within the group. Deacons in Eastern churches adopted the orarium as a vestment in the fourth century, and Western churches adopted in a little later. The term “stole” did not come into common use until the 12th century. By the 16th century, the stole was recognizable as a vestment worn by bishops, priests and deacons. Priests wear a stole around the neck and hanging in front of the chest.
CHASUBLE – This is a circular garment that reaches the hands and has an open neck. It is the most decorative item worn by the priest and is placed over the alb and stole. It evolved from long outer garments worn for travel during the later years of the Roman Empire, and started in a poncho-style known originally as a casula, or “little house” in Latin. The shape of the chasuble has evolved over the centuries.
An immediately recognizable element in divine worship is the use of differing colors. From vestments to altar cloths, the Liturgy uses color to reflect God’s glory and our own human dispositions. The very first thing God created was light. The light spectrum able to be seen consists of seven basic colors further divisible into thousands of shades. In a way, each color reflects the almighty’s power to create and sustain the multi-faceted universe in seven intervals. After Noah’s flood, the rainbow was revealed as a reminder that clouds would never again destroy all mortal beings. Both Ezekiel and St. John see rainbows surrounding God’s throne in their visions of heaven. The melding of rich colors, not easily obtained in the biblical milieu, showed the power of the almighty God. In fact, empirical science now says there are more colors in a single rainbow than there are stars in the sky! All 100 million discernible rainbow colors are variants of red, yellow, green, blue, and violet, although Isaac Newton added orange and indigo as bridges between red-yellow and blue-violet. Each of these colors have meaning in the Scriptures.
Red is associated with life-blood in Genesis and Jesus’ New Covenant in Matthew while yellow, or gold symbolizes what is most precious and strong. From Genesis to Luke, green means life and eternity whereas blue stipulates wealth and Heaven itself. Violet was extracted from a rare shellfish and so it became a symbol of royalty in the Book of Judges. White, as a combination of all colors in the light spectrum, was equated with purity, joy and glory. It is thought that for the first centuries white and gold were the only liturgical colors used. What better colors to make present the purity and glory of the precious King of Kings! Yet, since the rainbow multiplicity of colors was associated with God’s might and dwelling place, other hues were inserted into Christian worship as believers celebrate God’s favor in Christ and His power to bring life from death actualized in bread and wine. Liturgically, red took the meaning of Christ’s burning charity and the generosity of the martyrs who died like Him. Green reflected eternal life in Christ. Violet showed Christ as Universal King and the disciple’s imitation of His self-denial at specific times. Black was used for funerals because of its Biblical association with mourning and blue was used in some places for Mary and/or Advent, by whom and when the wealth of heaven came to earth. Rose became employable at the mid-point of Advent and Lent. It showed how the heavenly light of the Nativity and the resurrection begins to dawn in the midst of self-denial. All of these colors, even black, may still be used in the Liturgy today. Culturally, colored ribbons and bracelets are used to raise awareness for troops, those suffering from illnesses and even political causes. Liturgically, colors are used to elicit awareness of the almighty God, who continues to favor creation with His saving power.
According to the General Instruction (#345), different colors are worn “to give more effective expression . . . whether to the specific character of the mysteries of the faith to be celebrated or to a sense of Christian life’s passage through the liturgical year.”
WHITE – White, as a combination of all colors in the light spectrum, is equated with purity, joy and glory. It is used during Christmas, Easter, the feast of the Holy Trinity, and celebrations of Mary and saints who were not martyrs. White can also be worn on All Saints, Nativity of St. John the Baptist, and feasts of St. John the Evangelist, Chair of St. Peter and Conversion of St. Paul. It is sometimes worn at funerals.
RED – On Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Pentecost, celebrations of the Passion, and for saints who were martyrs.
GREEN – During Ordinary Time.
VIOLET or PURPLE – Violet was extracted from a rare shellfish and so it became a symbol of royalty in the Book of Judges. It is used during Advent or Lent seasons.
ROSE – The 3rd Sunday of Advent, also known as Gaudete Sunday, and the 4th Sunday of Lent, or Laetare Sunday.
GOLD or SILVER – In United States dioceses, these can be worn on solemn occasions.
BLUE – Blue vestments are not generally approved. On Marian feast days or at Masses dedicated to Mary, priest may wear white vestments with blue trim or ornamentation.
Each year, the Secretariat of Divine Worship of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops publishes the Liturgical Calendar for the Dioceses of the United States of America. This calendar is used by authors of ordines and other liturgical aids published to foster the celebration of the liturgy in our country.
The calendar is based upon the General Roman Calendar, promulgated by Pope Paul VI on February 14, 1969, subsequently amended by Pope John Paul II, and the Proper Calendar for the Dioceses of the United States of America, approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and confirmed by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (Prot. n. 578/10/L, July 24, 2010).
The USCCB Secretariat of Divine Worship has prepared 2017 edition of the Liturgical Calendar for the Dioceses of the United States of America. The calendar lists each day’s celebration, rank, liturgical color, Lectionary citations, and Psalter cycle (for the Liturgy of the Hours).