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Blue Liturgical Vestments (and more on Paschal Candles) ^ | May 11, 2010 | Father Edward McNamara

Posted on 05/11/2010 11:12:55 PM PDT by Salvation

Blue Liturgical Vestments

And on Paschal Candles

ROME, MAY 11, 2010 ( Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.Q1: During his visit to Austria in 2007, Pope Benedict XVI wore a blue chasuble and stole as well as a blue miter. Does this mean that blue vestments may now be used for feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary? -- C.J., Anaheim, California

Q2: Attending Mass at our parish church on the feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, I saw that our parish priest was proudly wearing his new blue stole that he had received as a gift from the local community. In our region, this feast is primarily considered as a feast of Our Lady, hence the color. As far as I know, blue is not officially allowed in our diocese, but is tolerated. Contrary, there is no matching deacon stole available, so the deacon was wearing a white stole. Is it acceptable that both priest and deacon wear stoles of different colors and how should such "conflicts" be handled? -- F.H., Houthulst, Flanders, Belgium

A: Since both of these questions are intimately related, I will attempt to address them together.

Blue is not one of the standard liturgical colors and it may only be used in virtue of a special privilege. By blue vestments we mean those manufactured from cerulean fabric. White vestments with blue motifs or trimmings are not subject to any restriction.

The privilege of using blue vestments in the Latin rite is of two kinds. One kind is that granted to some important Marian shrines. This was the case of Pope Benedict's Mass which was held at Austria's foremost center of devotion to Mary. The decree granting the privilege determines whether these vestments may be used habitually or only on certain major feasts.

The other privilege is that granted to whole countries. For example, all Spanish churches may adopt blue vestments on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, and this favor is sometimes also extended to countries once ruled by the Spanish crown.

Apart from these exceptions blue may not be used as a liturgical color, not even on major Marian feasts.

With respect to the blue stole in Belgium, I am unaware if this country retains the privilege, although it is possible as Flanders was once ruled by Philip II of Spain.

Since blue vestments are uncommon, even when they are permitted, it is possible that a parish has only one set. In this case I would say that it is possible for the deacon to don only white vestments. The situation is analogous to cases where only the principal concelebrant wears vestments of the color of the feast or season, while the others don white stoles and chasubles.

All that we have said refers exclusively to the Latin rite. Blue vestments are quite common on Marian feasts in some Eastern Churches, especially those of the Byzantine tradition.

* * *

Follow-up: Candles at the Gospel Reading

After our reply regarding the Easter candle (see April 27), a couple of similar questions came to mind.

A reader from Hawarden, North Wales, asked: "I wonder if you can help. Some eccentric, but at least semiofficial, instruction came our way some years ago, that after the feast of the Ascension the paschal candle was to be extinguished but left in the sanctuary until after Pentecost Sunday (when, naturally it was to retire to the baptistry). Is it obligatory to have it unlit during the great novena to the Holy Spirit?"

In our column of April 3, 2007, we gave a brief history of the Easter candle. In that column we mentioned that effectively there was a long-standing custom of removing the Easter candle after the Ascension. A rubric introduced by St. Pius V for that day indicated that the candle should be quenched after the Gospel of the principal Mass.

This rubric, still in force in the extraordinary form, is probably the inspiration for the semiofficial indication received by our reader.

Present norms, however, foresee the habitual use of the paschal candle for the entire Easter season until the final Mass of Pentecost, after which it is brought to the baptistry.

Another correspondent, from Green Bay, Wisconsin, presented the following case: Our liturgy coordinator is insisting that the Easter candle be lit at all Masses during the month of November. Is this permissible, since it is outside of the Easter season?"

I would imagine that the coordinator's logic derives from the fact that in many places the entire month of November is dedicated to special Masses and prayers for the deceased. Since the Easter candle is used at funerals, then it would appear coherent to use it during this time also.

However, the use of the Easter candle near the coffin at funerals has a precise ritual meaning with respect to bodily resurrection that is not found in Masses in suffrage for the departed. Otherwise, the candle would be used almost every day, as most Masses are celebrated for the benefit of some deceased person.

Even if the November Masses use the specific formulas of Masses for the dead and violet vestments, they would not be funeral Masses as such and so the paschal candle is not used.

Although I am unaware of the practice elsewhere, it is always possible that this use of the Easter candle is a long-standing custom of a particular church. Liturgically speaking, however, it is somewhat anomalous and I do not think it is a correct use of the Easter candle's symbolic meaning.

* * *


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: blue; catholic; catholiclist; liturgical; vestments
I thought this question had come up previously on FR and so jumped when I saw the article by Father McNamara

Readers may send questions to Please put the word "Liturgy" in the subject field. The text should include your initials, your city and your state, province or country. Father McNamara can only answer a small selection of the great number of questions that arrive.

1 posted on 05/11/2010 11:12:55 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: All
Here's the Paschal Candle question:

Candles at the Gospel Reading

And More on Baptismal Fonts

ROME, APRIL 27, 2010 ( Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.

Q: During Easter season at the reading of the Gospel at Mass on Sundays, are the ministers dispensed from carrying lit candles to the ambo if there is an Easter candle? -- F.A., Rio de Mouro, Portugal

A: In principle, there is no such "dispensation" except during the Easter Vigil itself, because on this night the Easter candle itself suffices to honor the risen Lord in his Gospel.

The fact that the liturgical books specify that on this night Gospel candles are not used implies that they should be used on all other solemn occasions. At the same time, we recall that these candles, like incense, are recommended but not obligatory elements of the celebration of Mass and may be omitted.

During the rest of Eastertide the Easter candle and those that accompany the Gospel have different symbolic values.

The Easter candle represents the risen Christ and, while it is often placed near the ambo, this is not the only possibility. The other possibilities are at the center of the sanctuary or next to the altar. Because of this, the Easter candle is not necessarily or primarily associated with the Gospel.

The candles that accompany the Gospel are a means of honoring and emphasizing the particular centrality of the Gospel in salvation history and as the high point of the Liturgy of the Word.

As the Second Vatican Council's dogmatic constitution Dei Verbum points out, these liturgical honors also establish a certain parallel with the honors attributed to the Blessed Sacrament, which is also accompanied by lighted torches and incense. This serves to underline the particular real presence of Christ in the liturgical proclamation of the Word, though without detriment to the unique nature of the substantial real presence of the Eucharist.

2 posted on 05/11/2010 11:16:03 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: nickcarraway; Lady In Blue; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; Catholicguy; RobbyS; markomalley; ...

Liturgical ping!

3 posted on 05/11/2010 11:17:19 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

We had a visiting priest from Mt. Saint Mary’s 2 weekends ago, he wore a blue vestment with a gold crown on the chest.

My eleven year old son picked up on the fact that the vestment was blue and that this was not a common color for celebrating the Mass.

I have to admit that I gave it no second thought, I told him it was May, which is the month of Mary. The color was a tribute to the Blessed Mother.

4 posted on 05/12/2010 12:11:52 AM PDT by incredulous joe
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To: incredulous joe

Colors of the Liturgical Year

 Green - Ordinary Time

Violet - Advent & Lent, Mass for Life, Funerals (optional)

 Red - Passion, Holy Spirit, Martyrs, Pentecost, Confirmation

 White - Easter & Christmas, Feasts of Our Lord & non-martyrs, Funerals (opt.) (o

Rose - 3rd Sunday of Advent and 4th Sunday of Lent (optional)

 Black - Funerals (optional) Masses for the Dead and All Souls (optional)

For more detail, see What about Blue? Vestment colors from the General Instruction of the Roman Missal

5 posted on 05/12/2010 12:12:50 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation; UriÂ’el-2012

Can you tell me what God says the color blue is to represent?

6 posted on 05/12/2010 12:43:36 AM PDT by roamer_1 (Globalism is just Socialism in a business suit)
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To: roamer_1

Why would one expect God to have said anything about it?

7 posted on 05/12/2010 3:47:52 AM PDT by Arthur McGowan (In Edward Kennedy's America, federal funding of brothels is a right, not a privilege.)
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To: Arthur McGowan
Why would one expect God to have said anything about it?

It is written.

8 posted on 05/12/2010 3:49:34 AM PDT by roamer_1 (Globalism is just Socialism in a business suit)
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To: roamer_1; Arthur McGowan; Salvation
Can you tell me what God says the color blue is to represent?

For the Roman church, I have no idea.

For G-d's Ekklesia, the color blue is YHvH' Glory.

In the Torah, the Israelites were commanded to put fringes, tzitzit,
on the corners of their garments, and to weave within these fringes
a “twisted thread of blue (tekhelet)
Also See here

The blue was in the Hem of His Garment when
He healed the the woman with the issue of blood.
See Mark 5:31 & Luke 8:45

shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach
9 posted on 05/12/2010 6:11:03 AM PDT by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your law is my delight.)
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To: Salvation

The question of Blue vestements frequently surfaces around Advent.

In many Anglican and Lutheran parishes blue has become the preferred color for that season on the theory that the penitential preparation for the celebration of the Nativity is of a different character than the preparation for the Paschal celebration.

The unintended consequence is that de-emphasizing penitence during Advent fuels the popular, commerce-driven misconception that Christmas begins at Thanksgiving or possible as soon as Halloween decorations are put away and many a parish has an uphill battle to save the Christmas Carols for the Twelve Days, as some folks would like to sing “Silent Night” right after Thanksgiving.

10 posted on 05/12/2010 7:00:31 AM PDT by lightman (Adjutorium nostrum (+) in nomine Domini)
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To: lightman

I think I saw some pictures with blue vestments during Advent somewhere.

I have to chuckle about this because it brings up another thought. One year our church decorating committee decided to get the white poinsettias and do the trees in blue lights.

Our very traditional priest did not like it. LOL!

11 posted on 05/12/2010 9:54:33 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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