What Vestments Does a Priest or Pastor Need?

Have you ever considered what Ecclesiastical Vestments are needed by your Pastor or Priest in order for them to do their job? We often sit in church week in and week out and never give the clothing worn by clergy a second thought. Worse yet, is there ever thought in the church budget to provide new items for the Pastor or Priest as they are needed?

The answers to these questions in part may depend on the denomination of the clergy member. For simplicity’s sake, let’s focus on two different bodies of faith: Roman Catholic and Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.  From there,  at a later date, we can also explore other vestment needs for other church bodies.

Now, one may wonder what started this train of thought? Well, every year within the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, our seminaries celebrate graduations. These young men have completed their schooling, many have their first call to serve in the ministry, and they will soon be accepting calls, and preparing for taking ordination vows and being installed in their new parishes.  The same may hold true for other bodies of faith as well, with graduations on the horizon from their seminaries.

Just as a young business executive might need to purchase a new business wardrobe of suits, shirts, ties, and shoes, so too, every new priest or pastor has to purchase–or receive as a gift–the basic items needed to fulfill his new calling. While it is easy to pull together a business wardrobe, what is needed for a seminarian heading out into their realm of work in the church?

The easiest way to break the list down might be between items needed and items desired.

Ecclesiastical Vestments needed:

  • Stoles in basic liturgical colors of white, red, purple (or violet), green, and blue ( if the LCMS church uses blue during advent). There may be additional colors for special feast days, but these are the bare basic colors needed.
  • Cassock, Alb, Surplice. There are slight variations between these items, and slight differences in the ways they are used, but all are needed by both the Catholic faith and Lutheran.
  • Cincture – used to go around the waist; needed by both.
  • Amice – needed in the Catholic faith, can be used by the Lutheran.
  • Chasuble –  needed by the Catholic Priest, nice when available and used by the Lutheran Pastor. Colors should match with basic stole colors.
  • Tippet – a black stole variation used for prayer office within the LCMS as part of the choir dress.

Once the needed vestments are taken care of, there are additional items on the “want” list:

  • Biretta (for Catholic Priest, if desired)
  • White stole for blessings (for Catholic Priest); a special stole for Easter or Christmas is nice for a Priest or Pastor
  • Shorter surplice (for Catholic Priest)
  • Other items as deemed appropriate for use and custom: Cope, special vestments for Saints Days, or specific days during the church year.

These are the bare essentials when it comes to outfitting a newly ordained Priest or Pastor. If the new graduate were to go out and purchase all of these vestments, imagine the cost!  But if a few of the items were given as a gift, what a blessing that would be to a graduating seminarian.

And please remember the pastor or priest who has been a faithful servant for years. Ecclesiastical vestments like clothing can wear out and need replacing; they can also become damaged.  If you notice a need, ask if you might be able to care for your Pastor or Priest by providing them with new vestments; or if their older items are of good quality, restoring old vestments.

There is a nice video on You Tube that talks about this subject, along with the subject of beauty, and what makes something beautiful.  The video is a little long, so if you want to get the the vestment part, fast forward to about 41:00 into the video.

Join the conversation – let the others know your version of vestment wants and needs, especially of you are or will be a seminary graduate preparing for your ordination.

Solo Dei Gloria

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Filed under: Ecclesiastical Sewing Tagged: Alb, cassock, Ecclesiastical Sewing, First vestments, stole, surplice, tippet, Vestment needs, Vestment wants
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