Altar boy vestments

So I just want to share with you a story on how each parish chooses or at least used to choose what color cassock or even what vestment to give out to altar boys.

Back then around 2000s-2013 it was up to who the patron saint of the church was, for example if it was St. John Mary Vianney you would wear a black cassock and surplice WITH a Roman collar if you church is hmm Our Lady of Guadalupe you’d probably be wearing a blue cassock or either an alb.

But that all changed around 2014 as the decision was now up to the parish priest. Most of the parish priest converted it to a white cassock with a surplice (some churches don’t allow low rank altar boys to wear surplices).

Huh? Where are you referring to this being the practice (2000-2013)? It’s always been up to the pastor/bishop and what the parish had - typically black cassock/white surplice or white albs. Parishes that could afford them had red cassocks for Christmas/Easter seasons. I’ve never seen nor heard of any connection to patron saint or any change to this in the US.


Me neither, and I started as an altar boy in 1957.

I’m sorry I wasn’t clear enough it was practice at my old diocese in the philippines


And here the altar boys are the one to buy the vestments so the boys are also the one to take care of it (wash and iron)

Ah, that makes more sense then. Thanks for the clarification.

We had three colours of cassock .

Red for ordinary use .

Black for funerals .

Purple for Lent and Advent .

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Why were altar boys allowed to wear Roman collars at some parishe?

Why were altar boys allowed to wear Roman collars at some parishes?

Altar servers in a Roman collar would weird me out. When I see those, I assume priest or deacon.

I agree. I also don’t like it when seminarians wear the collar.
If they are at seminary, I guess it’s ok, but we have a group of them who wear their “blacks” & collars even when they are home from seminary and doing parish work.
It especially bothers me since permanent Deacons are forbidden to wear a collar in my diocese.


It’s still the custom in the Diocese of Rome. Since (in the old days) altar boys were minor clerics, they were allowed to dress as such.

Now that makes no sense… PD’s are clerics, canonically speaking, and the canonical dress of a cleric is the collar… : /


From what I have seen, is that only those who are ordained wear “the little white thing” with the cassock. I have not seen altar servers or MCs wear them. The priest seminarians can wear the “priest shirt” just before they are sent off to Rome by the bishop for their last year of studies before they are ordained as deacons. There is a special ceremony for that in the Cathedral.

I’m pretty sure I saw a permanent deacon in a collar in the Baltimore archdiocese. I have not seen it in other dioceses where I’ve spent time.

I guess if they don’t do anything outside the bounds of their job, like try to hear a confession when they’re not a priest, I can live with it.

Odd. The PDs in my diocese wear a clerical shirt and collar. A good number of the priests around here were cassocks and Roman collars much of the time.

It is my understanding that it is up to the Ordinary of the Diocese as to what seminarians and Permanent Deacons wear.

In my diocese, seminarians can wear the collar with a black suit and/or cassock.
Permanent Deacons may not wear a collar (Transition ones can). PD wear a pin that indicates they are a deacon.

Makes zero sense to me, but then I am not the Bishop.


The collars we wore were similar to this one in the photo .


Then as we aged and became more senior we wore this narrower one .


The wait PDs aren’t allowed to wear a collar while seminarians are allowed to wear it… And that makes sense because?

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And it goes beyond that. Even though there is only one order of deacon, I believe the bishops of the US have decreed that a transitional deacon is “Rev. Mr,” while a permanent deacon is just “Deacon.” Rank clericalism in my opinion. And of the dioceses with which I’m familiar in the Northeasr, also no collars.

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