Cassock and surplice while praying the liturgy of the hours


hello all

i am discerning the priesthood and i pray the complete liturgy of the hours, and ive read that some seminarians require them to wear cassock/surplice while doing the divine office

im not formally in seminary

can i wear a cassock and surplice while i am praying the Divine office so its a preparation if i find gods calling me to go to seminary and i have a desire to be clothed in christ in the pure presence of him


I do not think it would be appropriate outside public celebrations of the Liturgy.


Don’t allow vanity to get in the way of prayer. If you are not a seminarian, G*d really doesn’t care what you wear when you pray!


I do not think that is a good idea.


If you are not in a seminary that requires this kind of dress, you are just playing “dress up”


I think this could be substituted for a better practice.

Although I’m not sure of your reasoning, I think a better option would be to create an icon corner, or another suitable place in your home that could be used just for prayer. The cassock itself is meant to be street wear, to identify a person as a cleric. Seminarians wear cassocks at certain times out of tradition (small “t”), since they were formerly the lowest order of cleric (until Pope Paul VI Ministeria Quædam in 1972). Altar servers only wear cassocks and surplices because they were formerly standing in for clerics.

While your desire is admirable to be clothed in Christ is admirable, I feel like it’s not what the cassock & surplice is meant to be used for.

By buying a few religious icons (eastern-style icons, crucifixes, et c.) and dedicating a small part of your home to prayer, you will be able to foster a spiritual environment, which may help you in “surrounding yourself with Christ,” so to speak.


The cassock and surplice is only worn during public, solemn celebrations of the Divine Office. That is, when the Divine Office is chanted, not recited. Since you most likely recite it privately, it would not be appropriate.


If you already own these garments, I can’t see any problem with it if you find it to be a help with your prayers.

But I wouldn’t bother buying a cassock, at least not until you are actually in a seminary that requires it. They’ll be able to tell you exactly what product to buy in that event.


im not playing dress up i think it would help me feel better in my prayers by being clothed in christ, it doesnt feel right wearing normal clothes.

thats how i feel


An alb would probably be better since it is the garment common to all the baptized.


the alb is a pain to get on though, haha, that does sound likea good idea, thank you


You received some excellent advice regarding albs. They are not “a pain to get on.” You’re simply looking for an excuse to wear a cassock and surplice.

I don’t think there would be anything wrong with wearing a cassock and surplice while praying but I do think that having the desire and voicing it suggests your focus is in the wrong place with regard to your spritual life.

In any event a nice alb (with or without a cassock underneath) with (if needed) an amice and a cincture gives a far more elegant and finished look than a cassock sans Roman collar and a surplice.


im not trying to find an excuse at all, your right, i do realize they are far more elegant.


I must disagree! A cheap cassock with a cheap surplice almost always looks better than those cheap polyester horrors of albs with those zip fronts and those hideous floppy collars. The only albs that look decent are ones made of a good fabric, no velcro (ie amice required), and with a cincture. And those are relatively costly.

If on a budget, cassock/surplice is better imho. If money is no issue, then either is fine.

Anyway, OP, don’t take this as an endorsement of wearing something during private prayer.


Try a hair shirt worn under your normal clothes.


Why did you interject a new variable (“cheap”) in order to sell your personal preference for a cassock and surplice? Did you think it would not be noticed? :rolleyes:

A cassock and surplice on an altar server looks very unfinished because it lacks a Roman collar and the surplice is simply not as formal as an alb. Inexpensive cassocks also look especially cheap. I won’t even comment on surplices that look like see-through lingerie.

Some people get themselves all whipped-up in a lather over the cassock/surplice combo because they remember it from years past or they have seen it in photos. That’s fine and all but in terms of pure pure elegance a alb/amice (if needed)/cincture (if needed) will always beat a cassock and surplice without a Roman collar. Always.

You’re also wrong when you suggest that “the only albs that look decent are ones made of a good fabric, no velcro (ie amice required), and with a cincture.” I wear this alb for special Masses that is designed not to be worn with either an amice or a cincture and it looks beautiful: More commonly I wear this alb that does not require an amice and you could wear it without a cincture if you wanted to:


I actually think this is a very good solution :hmmm:


I used the word “cheap” because it is what I meant.

Oh my, that first one looks like an impostor Domincan habit.


The alb would make better sense. The alb is vesture proper to all the baptized. It is the the white garment that we are all given at Baptism.


You introduced an extraneous variable (“cheap”) into the discussion in order to sell your preference of a cassock/surplice as if no one would notice. You failed.

Then you made the rude “habit” comment to disguise the fact you failed. Albs (tunics) long predate “Dominican habits.” While it doesn’t look like a Dominican habit, if there was a resemblance it would be in the reverse – the habit resembling the alb.

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