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Caring for Church Vestments

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Various vestments used in the liturgy. | Image source: Catholic Liturgicals

Church vestments are vital in any solemn of ceremony within churches. This is why priests and members of the clergy take care of their apparel very well. Vestments are considered by the Church as sacred and are expressions of devotion towards God and the Christian creed. It is therefore important to maintain the beauty and sanctity of divine outfits. Vestments such as albs, chasubles, and surplices must be hung to prevent wrinkles and damages to the fabric, inside closets and cabinets.

Copes should also be hung using a hanger, as folding might cause permanent harm to the material. Every one of them stored should be protected from elements such as dust, mildew, and the like. Linens such as amices and finger towels on the other hand should be folded and stored in sealed drawers, since these can get away with the risk of damaging because they are small and can easily be stored within enclosed spaces.

It should be noted that not all linens should be handled by laypeople, but only by those ordained as clergy. A lot of vestments are dry clean only, but you might get away with hand washing, as long as you’re careful not to cause tears or long-term creases. While some parishes have been using the same vestments for almost a century, it can’t be helped that they do need to be replaced someday, especially when signs of wear and tear are becoming rather visible. But the disposal of garments may not be as straightforward as it seems. Decorations on embroidered items may be lifted and used later on, especially those on elaborate pieces.

These pieces should not easily be thrown away—especially when they’re not too damaged—as they may have cost a fortune to manufacture. If the vestments aren’t damaged but could not be used anymore, they may be handed down to other parishes. On the other hand, those with minor problems may simply be fixed by a competent tailor or seamstress.


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