During the celebration of the mass, one may observe that bishops and priests present themselves wearing sets of liturgical vestments. What are these vestments that they wear? Is there significance in each of the liturgical vestments?
Priest and bishops wear liturgical vestments not because they want to look fashionably good with the vestments but because each of the vestments has a significant role to play in the commemoration of God’s death and in the celebration of the mass. Here are some of the vestments used by bishops and priests and their significance:
The Chasuble. It signifies the purple cloak God was mocked in as a King. The chasuble is a knee-length garment which flows at all sides. This vestment is folded up on its sides and strings could be used to make it be folded. The priests wear a chasuble during Eucharistic celebration in Western Christian Parishes. The vestment almost reached the feet and the material was bunched up to the sides to allow the arms to be outside the garment.
The Alb. It signifies purity of the mind, heart and body. It is a representation of the garment in which Jesus was mocked by Herod. The alb is a common vestment among the ministers in a mass. It is worn over the cassock and under special garments such as the stole, dalmatic or chasuble.
The Amice. It signifies the crown of thorns. The amice is a large white napkin hanged from two of its corners. Most commonly, a cross is sewn at the bottom of the amice. The priest places the amice upon his head and then rests it on his shoulders and then starts to recite the vesting prayer.
The Cincture. It represents the ropes by which God was bound and led. The cincture is used to secure the alb by fastening a linen rope about the waist.
The Maniple. It represents the chains used to secure God’s hands at His scourging. The maniple, chasuble and the stole often come in matching sets along with a chalice veil and burse. The maniple was not originally a sacred vestment but a sweat cloth to wipe the priest’s face during long services. The maniple is worn on the left arm of the priest and secured above the wrist. The maniple is a strip of cloth which is made of the same material as the stole and chasuble and is now often being embroidered.
The Stole. The stole represents the cross which God carried during His suffering. It is a long, thin breadth of cloth that the priest places over his head. The stole is made of silk though some can be created with the use of cotton and other similar fabrics. Normally, the stoles’ size is seven and one half to nine feet (2.28 to 2.74 meters) in length and three to four inches (7.62 to 10.16 centimeters) wide.
Each of the liturgical vestments mentioned above has significance in the celebration of the mass. If one is finding where to buy these vestments, Churchgoers.com is the best site for you to visit. The site offers various vestments where you could choose from.