How are deacons suppose to dress?

Are decons required to use the roman collar? I’ve seen a couple of deacons around my area that wear the roman collar, but I see others dress as any average joe out in the street as well. Or does this depend on the diocese they serve?

Depends on the diocese. Usually they are to wear the collar when they are ministering.

My diocese does not allow deacons to wear the roman collar. When they are ministering outside of liturgical celebrations they wear a jacket and tie and a “deacon pin”

Transitional Deacons, in our diocese, basically dress like priests (outside of mass).

Permanent Deacons, I don’t know.

Our permanent deacon dresses like an average Joe when he’s not “working.” When he ministers outside of Mass, it’s a suit and tie with a “deacon” medal on a chain, and he wears an alb and stole at Mass.

Transitional deacons here dress like priests, also.


Are dalmatics a normal liturgical attire for deacons, or is this not something specific to the Catholic Church? The times that I’ve seen a deacon celebrate Mass with a priest, he only wears and alb and a stole.

Deacons (of any ‘type’, since there is only one Order of the Diaconate) are entitled, as clerics, to wear the Roman collar.

‘Permanent’ Deacons are excempt from the requirement to do so, and most choose not to.

Canon 284 gives the authority to regulate clerical attire to the local Bishops conference. Here is what the USCCB said

On November 18, 1998, the Latin Rite de iure members of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops approved complementary legislation for canon 284 of the Code of Canon Law for the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States.

The action was granted recognitio by the Congregation for Bishops in accord with article 82 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus and issued by decree of the Congregation for Bishops signed by His Eminence Lucas Cardinal Moreira Neves, Prefect, and His Excellency Most Reverend Franciscus Monterisi, Secretary, and dated September 29, 1999.

Complementary Norm: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in accord with the prescriptions of canon 284, hereby decrees that without prejudice to the provisions of canon 288, clerics are to dress in conformity with their sacred calling.

In liturgical rites, clerics shall wear the vesture prescribed in the proper liturgical books. Outside liturgical functions, a black suit and Roman collar are the usual attire for priests. The use of the cassock is at the discretion of the cleric.

In the case of religious clerics, the determinations of their proper institutes or societies are to be observed with regard to wearing the religious habit.

As President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, I hereby decree that the effective date of this decree for all the Latin Rite dioceses in the United States will be December 1, 1999.

Given at the offices of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC, on November 1, 1999.

Most Reverend Joseph A. Fiorenza
Bishop of Galveston-Houston
President, NCCB
Reverend Monsignor Dennis M. Schnurr
General Secretary

The dalmatic is the ordinary liturgical attire for deacons. Due to expense, however, they are relatively rare.

In this diocese the ordinary daytime dress of the deacon is street clothes, but most of them have logo polo shirts either as a parish “uniform” or from various conferences and retreats they have attended, and use them as their “work clothes.” Parishes that can afford them have dalmitics for Mass, we have a set in the gold and white for Easter and Christmas, but I don’t think in every color, but I could be wrong. For baptisms, weddings and funerals he wears alb and the distinct stole of the deacon, and when he is assisting at regular Sunday Mass, the same. I should note that ordinary daily professional garb for men down here, especially in the summer, is “business casual” the golf shirt with trousers, except in the courtroom or in a bank or someplace very formal. Suits and ties or even button down shirts are rare in other settings. Many parishes have a “uniform” shirt for all staff, as do the public schools and many other employers.

My diocese, apparently like many others, forbids deacons from wearing the collar, even when they minister at wakes, committals, hospitals, etc. The rationale seems to be rooted in the concern that they not come off as “mini priests.” On the other hand, people seem surprised when we’re told that deacons are clergy but aren’t allowed to dress that way in ministry - they’re perceived all too often as “lay assistants” because they show up at a wake in jacket and tie, maybe with a "deacon pin.

Do people think that deacons should be allowed to wear the collar?

Clerics should dress as clerics when ministering.

There are, of course, dioceses where “permanent” deacons are permitted (yea, even expected) to don clerical attire when ministering. (In my experience, so-called “transitional” deacons normally wear it also, although more frequently.) The concept of a “deacon pin” is far too similar to what some religious sisters (and brothers, for that matter) use instead of a habit. Frankly, it just doesn’t “cut the mustard” in my book.

Well, I do. I recall from some years ago that some (High) Episcopal deacons wore a Roman collar with a black stripe down the centre. Seems to me that idea would be an ideal solution for all deacons, whether “permanent” or otherwise. There’s no mistaking that stripe. … this is from a website specializing in merchandise for “catholic deacons and their families”.

Good point…I was not dressing as a cleric when ministering at vigil services-my pastor set me straight-even at the funeral home I wear my vestments.:slight_smile:

Dcn Tony

When our deacons are ministering outside of the liturgy (or if they are not serving at a Mass but are assisting with the distribution of communion) they usually wear polo shirts with the deacon “pin” symbol. I think they all have the same shirt.

I thought that only black clerical shirts are allowed in America.

I find it interesting however that in our diocese deacons, who are clergy, cannot wear the collar, but seminarians, who are LAY PEOPLE, are required to and are often called Father when met.

I notice that you are in my diocese. So this would be the rule that our diocese has? Hmm, I’ve seen a few deacons not even wear the collar and just throw on their liturgical attire on top of their average joe clothes. I’ve also seen some priests who don’t even wear the collar and do the same as some of the deacons I’ve mentioned.

I think it’s ridiculous that when Anglican deacons wear the collar and other denomination clergy wear the collar that a Catholic deacon would be forbidden to do so.

My wife and I went for a walk at a local park last night. It was a very warm evening, and as we walked past the tennis courts who did we see playing? One of the deacons from the parish where we attend mass - wearing nothing but tennis shorts and shoes. I just waved and thought nothing of it. My life-long Catholic wife, however, was a bit weird-ed out. Yes, she admitted, he’s just a guy playing tennis on a hot evening…but he’s a DEACON with no shirt!!! :eek:

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