Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Church Chat: Liturgical Edition

It seems that many Catholics are unfamiliar with the names of the various items used or worn in the liturgy. It’s quite understandable: you may see these things on a weekly basis, but you don’t necessarily hear them referenced or addressed. I thought I’d share a few of these with you.

(Unlike previous versions of “Church Chat,” I won’t be giving the roots of these words.)

For Mass, the priest is vested with several pieces of liturgical accoutrement: sometimes a priest will wear a garment called an amice, which covers the shoulders and ties around the torso, so that his regular clothes are not visible; the long-sleeved white garment which reaches from neck to ankles is the alb; if the alb is loose-fitting, it is bound by a cord around the waist called the cincture; the long neckband which reaches the shins or ankles (depending on the height of the priest) is the stole; the over-garment, the one you really see, is the chasuble

When leading another sort of liturgy other than Mass, the priest might wear a long black robe called a cassock, with a white over-garment reaching the waist or knees called a surplice, as well as the aforementioned stole. For some events he may wear a cape, confusingly called a cope (really, we change one vowel?).

A deacon, in addition to the aforementioned alb, has a stole of a different style, which sits on one shoulder and is draped across the torso, being fastened at the waist. He may also wear a dalmatic, which looks somewhat like a chasuble, except that it has sleeves.

A bishop, in addition to the usual priestly vestments, has a few other noticeable items: the staff he carries, meant to resemble a shepherd’s crook, is called a crozier. The tall hat with the tassels in the back is called a miter. The smaller, yarmulke-looking item that covers the top of the head is called a zucchetto. An archbishop will wear a band which encircles his neck and has a short protrusion at opposite ends; this is the pallium.

Several items are used in offering the sacrifice of the Mass. The cup which holds the Precious Blood is a chalice. The small, shallow plate which holds the hosts is the paten. Other hosts are held in a bowl-like or chalice-like container called a ciboriumOn the altar one will find a corporal, a small white cloth on which the chalice and paten are set. The water and wine used for the consecration are held in small (usually glass) containers called cruets

Hope this helps!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I'm surprised and impressed by how many of these terms I had already learned from you in your journey! Thanks for spelling these out. :)