Deacon Vestments: Dalmatic vs Stole

Just something I’m curious about…

Is it a parish level decision or a diocese level decision for Deacons to wear Dalmatics or Stoles?

At the parish I grew up in, they wear Dalmatics, but the parish I belong to wears Stoles. Different dioceses.

Any significance regarding wearing one over the other? Is it just preference today?

NOTE: I know that back in the day, Stoles were worn during Lent.

I don’t know the answer to your question.

But I know that sometimes the answer is a matter of practicality. I think a lot of deacons receive a set of stoles when they are ordained. But it may be a while before they have a set of dalmatics in all liturgical colors. The same goes for the parish. Some parishes have a set on hand but others expect the deacons to supply their own.


Aren’t they suppose to wear both?:shrug:

The stole being under the Dalmatic?

I had wondered the same thing. Our previous parish was in another diocese and the deacons always wore dalmatics, but it only is occasionally at our current parish. I finally just asked our deacons the rhyme or reason for when they vest in the dalmatic. Their answer was pretty straight forward. In our case we have only had a permanent deacon for the last 5 years or so. Our second permanent deacon was only assigned 2 years ago. Because of that they do not have dalmatics for every season. Our two deacons are also on opposite sides of the build spectrum. Because of that they have only slowly been buying dalmatics, focusing on the “special seasons” first. Right now they have white/gold, red, purple and rose. They don’t yet have greens so normally only wear the alb and stole during ordinary time.

As a side note, even when wearing a dalmatic a deacon should still be wearing the stole.

Vatican Website: Chapter IV - Section IV: Sacred Vestments 336. The sacred garment common to ordained and instituted ministers of any rank is the alb, to be tied at the waist with a cincture unless it is made so as to fit even without such. Before the alb is put on, should this not completely cover the ordinary clothing at the neck, an amice should be put on. The alb may not be replaced by a surplice, not even over a cassock, on occasions when a chasuble or dalmatic is to be worn or when, according to the norms, only a stole is worn without a chasuble or dalmatic.
337. The vestment proper to the priest celebrant at mass and other sacred actions directly connected with mass is, unless otherwise indicated, the chasuble, worn over the alb and stole.
338. The vestment proper to the deacon is the dalmatic, worn over the alb and stole. The dalmatic may, however, be omitted out of necessity or on account of a lesser degree of solemnity.
339. In the dioceses of the united states of america, acolytes, altar servers, lectors, and other lay ministers may wear the alb or other suitable vesture or other appropriate and dignified clothing
340. The stole is worn by the priest around his neck and hanging down in front. It is worn by the deacon over his left shoulder and drawn diagonally across the chest to the right side, where it is fastened.
[LEFT]341. The cope is worn by the priest in processions and other sacred actions, in keeping with the rubrics proper to each rite.
342. Regarding the design of sacred vestments, conferences of bishops **may determine **and propose to the apostolic see adaptations that correspond to the needs and the usages of their regions.

We have occasionally had two Deacons serving such as at Easter, one was in the role of the “Deacon of the Word” and he didn’t wear the dalmatic (then again, we have only one) and the other “Deacon of the Eucharist” wore the dalmatic. On Ash Wednesday, we had all three Deacons serve, once again two wore just the stole while the one wore the dalmatic… I don’t think we would have ever distributed the ashes without all three, the pastor, and the assistant pastor… Mass was packed, standing room only. Would be nice if that happened all of the time, maybe the HVAC could be fixed and we would be able to stop basting the Priest and Deacons during Mass.

Thanks… and yes, I should have said “Dalmatic vs ‘only Stole’”

I ‘googled’ the information re vestments etc.
most interesting.

We have a retired priest filling in for us at present but he is also a Deacon.
I am confused.:confused:

I’m not sure I follow… but all Catholic Priests were first Ordained as Deacons, one year before their ordination as Priest.

I googled dalmatic and I’m wondering what’s the difference between the dalmatic and the casuble the priest wears? Our deacon weaers an alb and stole. Sorry if this derails a little but I’m curious.

Not every parish has a full set of dalmatics for deacons to wear, and they can be rather an expensive investment. If the deacons are transitional deacons the expense is not usually justifiable as they will only have need for them for usually a year. If they are permanent deacons, they may have other financial priorities. It is preferred for the deacons to wear both stole and dalmatic, but is perfectly acceptable for only the stole when no dalmatic is available. The stole must always be worn.

Short answer: A dalmatic has “sleeves”. A Chasuble doesn’t. Often the design on the fabric is also different.

I should be noted that a dalmatic is the proper vestment for mass. When a deacon presides at Eucharistic Exposition and Adoration, or at a baptism outside of mass for example, the dalmatic is not required and a cope may be worn over the stole.

Dcn. Jeff has it right.

The dalmatic is the proper outer garment for the deacon during Mass. This is addressed in the General Instructions for the Roman Missal, which states:

  1. In the sacristy, according to the various forms of celebration, there should be prepared the sacred vestments (cf. nos. 337-341) for the Priest, the Deacon, and other ministers:

b) for the Deacon: the alb, the stole, and the dalmatic; the latter may be omitted, however, either out of necessity or on account of a lesser degree of solemnity;

First, we should note that the stole is always used with the dalmatic.

“Necessity” is easy. That means if the parish can’t afford dalmatics, they can be omitted.

“Lesser degree of solemnity” is a bit vague. I would interpret this as meaning daily Mass. All Sunday Masses are meant to be solemn (hence their holding the rank of “solemnity” on the Church calendar). This decision ultimately lies with the bishop, or the pastor.

I go to two parishes: At one, the parish only has a white dalmatic, which is used when possible. The rest of the time, the deacon wears only a stole.
At the other, the pastor has specifically instructed that dalmatics must be used during Mass. The parochial vicars, visiting priests, and the deacons are not allowed to omit them.

Again, Dcn. Jeff mentioned that a cope may be used when the deacon presides at extra-Missam liturgies (Vespers, Baptisms and Marriages out of Mass, et c.). In this situation, the deacon may use an alb and stole, or a cassock and surplice.

However, if the deacon is assisting at an extra-Missam liturgy, the dalmatic is appropriate, while the priest who is presiding wears a cope.

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