Who Chooses Priest Vestment Colors? (Father Simon Says)

Fr. Richard Simon explored the colorful world of priest vestments, revealing not just who chooses these sacred garments but the rich symbolism behind each hue.

Who Picks the Colors?

It turns out, the selection isn’t as modern as one might think; it’s steeped in tradition. The Church, following a time-honored tradition, dictates the color palette used in priestly vestments. These aren’t arbitrary choices—each color tells part of the Church’s story:

  • Green: Symbolizing hope and life, green vestments are worn during Ordinary Time, a period for growth and reflection.
  • Purple: Used in seasons of penance like Advent and Lent, purple signifies preparation and repentance.
  • Red: The color of the Holy Spirit and martyrs, red vestments are donned on feast days celebrating the Church’s most courageous witnesses.
  • White: Representing purity and joy, white is used for festive occasions like Christmas and Easter, celebrating life and resurrection.
  • Black: Though less common today, black is traditionally worn for funerals and All Souls’ Day, reflecting mourning and remembrance.

The Church steers clear of blues, oranges, or any non-traditional shades.

A Historical Wrap: The Casula

Interestingly, the origins of these vestments date back to Roman times. The ancient Roman “casula,” which means “little house” and refers to an all-encompassing poncho-like garment, evolved into what we know as the chasuble. Adaptations in its design across the East and West allowed priests to move their arms, a practical shift from the conical designs of old, which were quite cumbersome.

From the Past to the Present

These vestments are far more than decorative. They are deeply emblematic, woven from the fabric of history, tradition, and deep theological significance. Each color, fabric, and symbol is a thread in the vibrant tapestry of the Catholic faith, worn with reverence and carrying the message of God’s enduring love and the covering grace of the Church.

So, next time you notice the vivid colors adorning your priest during Mass, remember, each hue has a holy significance, echoing the Church’s rich and ongoing story of faith, hope, and salvation. 🕊️🎨

Jake Moore serves as a Digital Audio Content Producer for Relevant Radio®. He is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, and is passionate about classic movies, Christian music, young adult ministry, and leading this generation to Christ through compelling media. You can listen to more of his podcasts at relevantradio.com and on the Relevant Radio® app.