April 06, 2007

On Good Friday what's a priest to wear?

At the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday we consecrate enough of the Body of Christ to give to the people both on Holy Thursday and on Good Friday.

On Good Friday we have the afternoon “Celebration of the Lord’s Passion.” That celebration is not a Mass. It has a Liturgy of the Word, General Intercessions, Veneration of the Cross, and, finally, Holy Communion (distribution of the Body of Christ reserved from the previous night).

I have noticed that a good number of priests don’t know what they are to wear for Good Friday’s Celebration of the Lord’s Passion. They understand correctly that it is not a Mass, and so they wonder if they should fully vest as for a Mass or not.

If priests would open the Missal (“Sacramentary”) to the page that begins “GOOD FRIDAY— Celebration of the Lord’s Passion”, they would be able to read rubric number 4 (among the preparations for the celebration):
“The priest and deacon, wearing red Mass vestments….”

That’s clear. For the priest: alb, red stole and— without fail or option— red chasuble. If there’s a deacon: alb and at least a red stole; if available, also a red dalmatic.

However, what reason would there be for “Mass vestments” if it is not a Mass?

Simply: we are liturgically commemorating the day and the reality and the real presence of the Lord’s Passion— that is, the Sacrifice of Christ the High Priest— that he consummated on his cross and that we consume in his Eucharist.


2 Comments:

Anonymous Fr. Dana Christensen said...

Not only that, but the reason why Mass vestments are worn is to show the reality that the Mass of the Lord's Supper, The Good Friday Service, and the Easter Vigil are actually one continous celebration. That is why there is no blessing and dismissal at the end of Holy Thursday Mass, why there is no sign of the cross or greeting at the beginning of the Good Friday Service, no blessing or dismissal at the end of Good Friday Services, and no sign of the cross or greeting at the beginning of the Vigil. There is, however, a blessing and dismissal to end the entire celebration at the end of the Vigil. It is one continuous celebration, so that being the case, it only makes sense that the priest would wear a chasuable throughout.

8:53 AM  
Blogger Fr. Peter said...

Its funny what you find when you read thr red letters!

10:06 AM  

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