Help Me Shop for Cassock and Surplice


This will be for someone who is not clergy but will be serving in the role of Master of Ceremony at a parish on big solemnities, when the Bishop visits, etc. A few questions…

Of the two surplices from CM Almy shown below , would the one with lace on the left be appropriate or would a more plain design be better? Does it really matter?

Round yoke? Square yoke? Which looks more dignified?

What do you guys think of the length of the surplice? I’m really not liking the shorter ones at all.

Is there someplace else worth looking at? All suggestions are welcome.



On the matter of length, that’s all personal preference. If you like the longer one, get a longer one. As for the lace–lace or no lace would be perfectly fine; if you’re serving as an MC, then maybe lace would be an okay way to go. I know of parishes where the regular servers wear plain surplices, while the MCs wear lace, to differentiate them.



Just my personal experience, but those loooong surplices I think tend to be used by Episcopalians/ Anglicans. Don’t think it’s generally a Catholic usage.


When the Archbishop come to our parish, the Master of Ceremonies that he brings usually brings his own. But, I have noticed that of the three I’ve met, they have the ones with the lace and the square neck.


Only thing I can suggest is to avoid anything with polyester. I wouldn’t settle for anything less than 100% cotton, 100% wool, or perhaps a blend of both.


I would suggest to avoid anything with polyester. I wouldn’t settle for anything less than 100% cotton, 100% wool, or perhaps a blend of both.

My parish uses the shorter square shouldered type, though some servers with their own have worn slightly longer ones as well.


Lace :thumbsup:
Square Yolk :thumbsup: (Circular yolks are anglican)
Two inches above the knees :thumbsup:


Two things:

  1. In all things liturgical follow the principle of noble simplicity.
  2. In all things parish-related, ask the parish priest what he thinks (especially if the parish is paying).


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Thank you all for your replies. Please continue to post your thoughts on what looks dignified, elegant and Catholic. I like the surplice from Solivari. They are longer, a washable wool blend but they are expensive… yikes!

The simple embroidery and strong vertical pleats just looks nice to my eye.



Agreed. That’s why parishes don’t change styles often. They cost a fortune to get many in many assorted sizes. But it looks great. Are you giving it to this man as a gift? That’s pretty nice of you! In Atlanta they come “dressed”. LOL
God bless.


Have you seen some of the vestments new priests are getting?

Fr. Zahuta (St. Brigid?) had spectactular hand-made vestments from Belgium and Fr. Sharoff now up in Elijay had the most gorgeous gold embroidered vestments I have ever seen for his first Mass. These were all donated by parishoners.

Yeah, we like to dress here in the ATL. :cool:



Tru dat. :smiley:


I would perhaps consider looking for a Catholic tailor in your area who might be able to do the work in his spare time for cheaper. I know there’s an Italian tailor near me that has made jackets for priests; I doubt he would charge them full price. Might cost just as much or even less than what you’d get online.


Our men’s Gregorian chant group got cassocks and surplices from CM Almy. We all bought the Square Yoke, Cathedral Length. Most of the servers I see that are seminarians (and likely trained for MCs) use the Cathedral length and square cassock.



I have all but decided to go with the surplice from House of Hansen shown below. Six pleats looks very formal and $208 is surprisingly low for a custom tailored garment.

House of Hansen has a good reputation but I’d welcome feedback from anyone who has done business with them or from anyone who happens to have seen this or any of their other garments.



Autom has both ranging in price from very inexpensive to pretty expensive. I assume like everything else you get what you pay for.


The one you just posted looks great. I like it. Our parish has never bought from them though. Check the blend of the fabric, but otherwise it look very well tailored. :thumbsup:


As per email from the vendor, “The surplices are made in a linen weave polyester. It is a perfect fabric for holding in the pleats and not to heavy.”

One has to go >$250 to get dacron/wool or cotton/poly blends and so I think this has a lot of value and will look very dignified.


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