Friday, September 14, 2012
A Priest Should Know How to Vest for Mass
What’s wrong with these pictures?
Do you know your “liturgical vestment” vocabulary? Do you know what the priest is supposed to be wearing, but isn’t?
I suspect many of you do know, but it appears the priest in the photos does not. So, just to keep us all on the same page, here’s an “amicable” lesson.
The priest in the photos is missing his amice! (Okay, the words “amice” and “amicable” are not really related in any way, but I thought it was a fun play on words anyway.)
Fr. Z had an interesting (and humorous) post about this a couple of months ago. He explained:
An amice, from Latin amictus, “a garment put on over other clothing”, in turn from the verb amicio “to throw round, to wrap about, to cloth”, is a rectangular linen cloth which has strings at two corners on one long side. It is placed, first on the head, and then over the shoulders and around the neck. The strings are then crossed over the chest, passed around the back and around to the front where they are tied, so as to keep the amice in place.
… [T]he General Instruction of the Roman Missal says, in part,
336. “… Before the alb is put on, should this not completely cover the ordinary clothing at the neck, an amice should be used.”
On a related issue, however, when you see a priest’s “Roman” collar sticking up out of his vestments, that is a liturgical abuse. His collar must be covered because his collar is “street clothes” as opposed to sacred vestments.
It can happen that the alb or amice will slip away to reveal his street clothes. That is not an abuse. That is an accident. What is an abuse is purposely vesting in such a way that the collar is revealed. [It appears that the priest in the photos above makes a habit of it...]
In the older, venerable, traditional form of Holy Mass, in the Extraordinary Form, the amice is always used, regardless of the shape of the alb. The priest first washes his hands, saying a particular prayer, and when the priest puts on the amice, he lets it rest on the top of his head briefly and he says the prayer:
Impóne, Dómine, cápiti meo gáleam salútis, ad expugnándos diabólicos incúrsus … Upon my head, O Lord, place the helmet of salvation, so that I may defeat the assaults of the devil. (cf Isaiah 59:17; Ephesians 6:17, 6:11)
Ah, how much we have lost…