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Ciborium is Latin for food container. The Ciborium holds the consecrated Hosts and is kept inside the Tabernacle on the Altar.
The Paten is used by the priest to hold and carry the Hosts. In ancient times the paten held bread offerings from the lay faithful. The Paten must be gold or gold-plated and it must be shallow. While it may be engraved or otherwise ornate on the outside, it must be perfectly smooth on the inside.
The Chalice holds the wine consecrated at Mass. During the Roman Empire, the Chalice was the “cup of the household” and was often made of precious metal with inlaid gemstones.
It must be consecrated, and may not be handled by anyone other than the priest unless special permission is given by him to religious or others qualified to tend to the Sacristy. It must be made either of gold, or of silver with a gold-plated interior. The interior must be smooth.
These are the small bottles used to hold the unconsecrated water and wine.
The oldest of the altar linens, it is the size of a large napkin and is under the Chalice, Paten and Ciborium during Mass. It is folded into ninths, and carefully refolded from the corners inwards to prevent any sacred species from falling. It is usually adorned with a red cross.
A small stiffened linen napkin used to keep foreign matter out of the Chalice.
Small napkins used for wiping the Chalice and the Paten.
The traditional vestments of the Catholic priest were first developed during and towards the end of the Roman Empire some 1,500 years ago. They have changed little over all those centuries, as a testament to the steadfast unwavering of the great Church through the test of time. Colors, materials and various decorations hold both historic and spiritual significance.
A Latin prayer is recited by the priest for each vestment while being donned.
Purple and or Violet: symbolized sorrow and penance. Worn during Lent and Advent, certain Passion Masses, the blessing of ashes, ember days and other penitential occasions.
Gold: can replace red, green and white for added solemnity. Gold denotes majesty and splendour.
Black: represents mourning and death. Worn on Good Friday, and for Masses of the dead.
Rose: is optionally used in place of purple only twice a year - Gaudete Sunday (Third Sunday of Advent) when we light the third candle of the Advent Wreath, and Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent), when Rose is symbolic of muted joy in the midst of a penitential season.
White : Sometimes replaced by gold, white symbolizes purity, innocence, rejoicing and light. Employed during certain periods throughout Christmas and Easter seasons. Also worn on feasts of our Lord, feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary, non-Martyred saints, conversion of Paul, saints John the Apostle and John the Baptist, among others. It is word during certain ceremonies such as weddings, baptism and the burial of children. White is also worn during the consecration of churches, altars and bishops.
Red: Red is symbolic of blood an fire, and is worn during feast of His precious blood. It is also representative of the Holy Ghost, hence it is worn during the week of Pentecost. Red is also worn during feasts of Martyrs, Evangelists and Apostles.
Green: The colour of nature and life, denoting the hope of eternal life. Worn from the 14th of January to Septuagesima Sunday and following the first Sunday after Pentecost to the Saturday preceding Advent.
Alba means white in Latin. A long white linen garment symbolizing innocence and purity, covering the entire body.
Vesting Prayer: “Make me white, O Lord, and cleanse my heart; that being made white in the Blood of the Lamb I may deserve an eternal reward.”
A hood or hood-like cloth. A rectangular piece of linen with an embroidered cross , wrapped around neck, shoulders and breast. It is representative of the garment of the fool that the Roman soldiers placed over our Lord’s head as they blindfolded, mocked and struck Him. Formerly used as a head covering to protect consecrated and priests from the elements, it represents the helmet of salvation. The amice must be of linen or hempen material, not wool. The priest kisses the small cross and touches it to his head before placing it over his neck and shoulders.
Vesting Prayer: “Place, O Lord, on my head the helmet of salvation, so that I may resist the assaults of the devil.”
The Stole was first adopted in the 4th century. It is a long thin vestment worn around the neck and hanging down on both sides in front. In antiquity it was worn by judges and clerics, and reminds us of the priest’s apostolic authority and ability to forgive sins.
Vesting Prayer: “Restore to me, O Lord, the state of immortality which I lost throught the sin of my first parents, and, although unworthy to approach Thy Sacred Mysteries, may I deserve nevertheless eternal joy.”
In antiquity, maniples were often worn by Roman magistrates at the start of public events. It is a long cloth draped over the left forearm similar to a waiter’s napkin and pinned in place. Also called the “sudarium” or “sweat cloth” because it was originally used to wipe perspiration. It is the same width as the stole.
Vesting Prayer: “May I deserve, O Lord, to bear the maniple of weeping and sorrow in order that I may joyfully reap the reward of my labors.”
The Cincture is tied around the waist over the alb to hold it (and sometimes the stole) in place. Made of braided linen or wool, it represents priestly chastity.
Vesting Prayer: “Gird me, O Lord, with the cincture of purity, and quench in my heart the fire of concupiscence, that the virtue of continence and chastity may abide in me.”
“Chasuble” is derived from the Latin “casula” or “little house” because it was used at times as a literal shelter by clergy. Which tells us how stiff and heavy it used to be. Unlike modern chasubles, traditional (vestment) chasubles are required to have a large cross on the back to signify the yoke of service to our Lord. In times past it was very large, very heavy, and very ornamented, which is why you see altar boys helping the priest to support it during Mass.
Vesting Prayer: “O Lord, who has said, ‘My yoke is sweet and my burden light,’ grant that I may so carry it as to merit Thy grace.”
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