Funeral Vestments?


Wills are not the appropriate place for planning the funeral liturgy because they are always opened and read long after the death and burial. The correct way to plan the liturgy is to speak to the priest directly about it, as the family has been doing. As Fr. David has said, since all options are ultimately at the priest’s discretion, he cannot be compelled to do something just because it is stipulated in a legal document, anyway.


The black Roman set that Fr. David has shown sells for about $200.00 from Akermann Co. in Poland. They sell on Ebay. I have purchased 3 sets from them and am well pleased with each. White, green and rose. Already had the violet, red and black.

If you are going to do it up right, then also buy a black cope for the burial rite. Again Akermann Co. sells a couple for about $150.00 plus some shipping.

Sure you can spend $ 1000 to $3000 on each set and that’s fine if you are helping to establish a personal parish. However, when looking to fulfill Grannies last wishes, then look at some of the more inexpensive stuff.

Most companies also sell the vestments in Gothic, Semi-gothic and Roman styles. They usually come with a total of 5 pieces so that the altar is matched.

The black funeral Pall is considerably more expensive, starting around $350.00.

And don’t forget unbleached altar candles. They are worth the expense.



Sacrosanctum Concilium 81 Vatican II:The rite for the burial of the dead should express more clearly the paschal character of Christian death, and should correspond more closely to the circumstances and traditions found in various regions. This holds good also for the liturgical color to be used.


The reason why it’s proper is because black is the color specified in the typical* edition of the GIRM. On the other hand, white is a local adaptation.

The reason why the GIRM says “where it is the practice” is because in some cultures, black is not symbolic of death (in Asia, for example, as far as I know it’s white). There’s no doubt that in North America, we associate black with death.

  • for those who might not know what that means, “typical” means the original GIRM in Latin that applies to the whole world, without any local variations or translations.


Actually, those prices are a bit high.

Follow the links under the photos I posted. You’ll be surprised.

I’ve been wearing those for about 4 years now (have them in all the colors) and they’re very good quality. Shipping is expensive though.

Do you have a link for Akermann? I don’t want to derail the thread.


Right. But that’s often been misrepresented to mean that funerals are supposed to be about the Resurrection to the exclusion of everything else.

The Pascal mystery includes the passion, death, and resurrection. There’s no resurrection without the passion and death.


I think black for mourning is not as strong a custom as it used to be. I just came back from the Catholic funeral service (no Mass) for a 33 year old woman. Only one pall bearer was in black and it was a fashion statement because the idiot also kept his hat on for the entire service. Most of the family wore colourful clothes.

I have to admit I can’t find the Latin IGMR that specifies black as THE colour for funerals. The only one I can find says ***Color niger adhiberi potest, ubi mos est, in Missis defunctorum.


ummmmm… you did find it. You just quoted it.

That’s the typical edition of the GIRM and therefore it’s the universal norm. On the other hand, white is only an adaptation approved (separately) for Canada and the U.S. Therefore, white is not the norm, it’s the variation from the norm.

Even though black is the universal norm as far as the GIRM goes, it’s not culturally universal in being associated with death. Black doesn’t mean death in Asia, and the funeral color in Rome itself is actually red (even though black is still the color of mourning). So, the GIRM (ok, IGMR in Latin) allows for the possibility that black might not be a funeral color in every culture.

Whether or not people are wearing black to funerals today—and I’ll echo what you just wrote that people are less concerned with wearing it now than in the past–it’s still the color of death in our N. American culture.


Thank you Fr. for these replies. Our family lost a loved one (at way too young of age) a few years back, and I can assure you we, along with almost the entire packed church, was in black. I did not like the vestments being white, we were never presented an option, and had not even thought about it. But it was out of place, along with the talk about the funeral being a “celebration of xxx’s life” (thankfully not the homilist or the priest). Actually more than out of place, even seem insensitive at the time.

I have since heard all the arguments about white vestments reminding us of our baptism, focusing on the resurrection, etc, etc, etc. It all seems quite out of place (perhaps not in the death of one who was very old, and it was quite expected). Family’s are grieving and mourning, the funeral mass should be about praying for the loved one’s soul. And the Church should show that it is in solidarity with the family.

Just my two cents…


Am I the only one who has never taken a moment to consider the clothing other people wear to a funeral? It just seems a silly thing to worry about when someone is dead. Actually, it seems even sillier to worry about it when YOU are the person who is going to be dead. You’re hopefully going to be in heaven and I don’t think saints get worked up over clothes. If you aren’t in heaven, clothes at your funeral are going to be the last thing on your mind.


Nope, I am the same way.

I couldn’t tell you what our priest wore for my mom’s funeral or for my dad’s.

What other people wore?

I know what my husband wore. I ironed his shirt. And I know what our son wore. I ironed his shirt, too.

Everyone else? No idea. :shrug:


Fr. David,

Here is the link to the Ackermann page on ebay;

I’ll check out your links shortly. Ackermann has raised its prices since I purchased. This set that shows in the link WAS $170.00 its NOW $200.00.



Noticing the color of clothing people wear to a funeral is not something to “worry” about. However, here in Trinidad it is something you will definitely notice! At any funeral Mass you are most likely to notice that almost everyone wears black, or white, or purple. It is simply local custom. Most people have “funeral clothes” that are unlikely to be worn anywhere else. Nobody gets “worked up” about this. It just is.

As for me? I only want the priest to wear either black (which is most unlikely, since I have never seen black vestments in the 42 years I’ve lived here) or purple/violet. I would also like the priest to preach on the four last things.


one of my grandmothers died during Lent. Her favorite color was Pink. At her funeral, the bishop gave permission for the Rose colored vestments to be worn by the Priest (she actually died on Laetare Sunday).

(actually both died during Lent, in different years, but only one liked Pink. The other hated that color…they both died the weekend of Laetare Sunday).

I don’t think black vestments exist…it really depends when your grandmother passes on, I guess…


If there is such an instruction that black is the proper color of vestment for funerals then it would be nice to have the quote. All that I could find in the G.I.R.M. by the usccb is that violet, white and black may be used. A preference for black as the proper color and white as an option is not given as far as I could find. We may not like the option that the priest has chosen, but it is his choice even though one may request it.
From the G.I.R.M. on Sacred Vestments
d) The color violet or purple is used in Advent and Lent. It may also be worn in Offices and Masses for the Dead.
e) Besides the color violet, the colors white or black may be used at funeral services and at other Offices and Masses for the Dead in the Dioceses of the United States of America.


I think that we do people a real dis-service by trying to pretend that we aren’t mourning the loss of a loved one. Grief is natural at death, and to force that grief into suppression does more harm than good.

One of the funeral Gospels is the raising of Lazarus. The line “Jesus wept.” is in the text. If Christ Himself (Who understood death and resurrection far better than any of us) wept at the death of His friend, who are we to tell others that they are wrong to do so?

We should grieve in the light of the Resurrection, but we should indeed grieve. We will mourn not matter who tells us what, therefore we do an injustice by pretending that the grieving isn’t happening.


I’m always amazed at folks who think they can tell the priest or the bishop what they need to do, and then in addition, wave a document in their face.
I’ve worked in the Church for many years in 3 varied States, (west, Midwest & South) and also Ireland, and I have NEVER ONCE seen a priest take it well, bend from his original stance, or tolerate it in any form.
This is the thing about the forums: everyone is an expert, some even have the docs on their side, but in practice, the clergy make their own decisions. Whether we like it or not, whether it is to our preference or upbringing, or whether, in some rare occasions, that we are correct and others are wrong.

I always err on giving the priest the benefit of the doubt. Have I known some that are less than perfect? Sure. But I need someone to preside over my funeral Mass.
The Mass will be valid no matter who the person is that celebrates it or what color he wears, or what seminary he went to, or what kind of awful music that they play.
Of course I will have preferences, and I can write them down, give them to someone who will hand it to the priest and liturgist. Beyond that, out of my control.
I doubt I’ll be stopped at the door of heaven with a complaint from the Man upstairs about the funeral Mass.

Now everyone is going to say that’s not how it should be. Maybe it’s not, but it’s the way it is.
I had a dear priest friend that I believe to be a good and holy priest. He challenged the Bishop about a policy of the Diocese. The Bishop saw his point, acquiesced, and genuinely thanked him for bringing it to his attention.
And then transferred him to a remote part of Mexico for a period of 3 years, with little contact. My friend said “they forgot about me.” No they didn’t. They put him in a place where he could think about it. Right or wrong, it happened.

Lay people? We are called to obedience. You can have preferences. But you can’t tell the pastor what to do. It’s bad form. It’s very disrespectful. And the bottom line? It very seldom turns out well.



They’re even using the same catalog number as the site I use to buy my vestments. They’re either buying them from that site (perhaps on-location since they’re in the same city in Poland), or they have the same supplier and one has a bigger markup. They’re still adding the shipping cost too. That set was US$94 when I bought it a few years ago.


It’s in the text that you quoted. Black is the color specified in the typical edition of the GIRM (so is violet). White is an adaptation approved for the US (and also Canada)–it’s not a universal norm. You just quoted the words. I’m confused as to how you can’t find them.


I’m confused how you are confused that I do not see what you wrote in the quote that I posted :shrug:

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