Priest in a purple cassock?


All the RCIA candidates in our diocese went on a retreat with the Bishop last week. One of the priests from our parish is also the RCIA director for the diocese and ran the day. At the end of the day the Bishop presided over Vespers and adoration of the sacrament (is that the right term?) and our priest was the only other priest involved. I noticed he was wearing a purple cassock over a white surplice (I think) - I have never seen him wear this colour before and was just wondering why? Haven’t seen him since to ask him as we have 6 masses on a Sunday and he wasn’t at my one.



Maybe the priest is a Monsignor, and what he was wearing is choir dress?


Most likely he’s an “Honorary Prelate” (formerly known as a “Domestic Prelate”) or a Protonotary Apostolic. Both bear the title “Monsignor” and both are entitled to wear the “purple” (closer to fuchia) cassock on certain occasions, the former more so than the latter. A “Chaplain of His Holiness” (formerly known as a “Papal Chamberlain”) also bears the title “Monsignor” but is no longer (since 1968) entitled to “purple” cassock.


The color is called violet or amaranth.


Ian mentioned that he never saw him wear that color before, so if he was a monsignor or whatever, he probably would have noticed that before. However, Ian, he should be wearing that color during Advent and Lent. Now I as confused as you are. You spelled “color,” “colour.” Are you Canadian? I looked at my liturgical American calendar and last week the color was either white or green. Perhaps it was a feast day with the option of purple in Canada? There are some differences in countries.

I would simply ask him.


It’s also customary in some places for a bishop’s Master of Ceremonies to wear an amaranth cassock, even if he’s not an Honorary Prelate or Apostolic Supernumerary. This is another possibility, if the priest was acting as MC.


The color of the cassock does not change with liturgical season, but rather reflects the rank of the one wearing it (or, if it is a white cassock being worn in a tropical zone, the piping and buttons then are colored according to rank).



True about the buttons and piping, but that would apply to a house cassock. A choir cassock, if applicable, always reflects the rank.


Not necessarily. An “Honorary Prelate” for example, is only entitled to wear the full “purple” (OK, amaranth) cassock on certain formal occasions. Note, also, that while he may be entitled to wear it, he is not required to do so.


I was referring to the white cassock, which is generally worn as a house cassock (I’m not sure if they’re worn in choir or not).



Thanks - this thread helped me figure it out. He is the Diocesan Master of Ceremonies, so that would explain why he was wearing it.

(Oh - I am in the UK by the way)



Are Bishops Master of Ceremonies wears a amaranth cassock and keeps stole with him when there a ordination of laying of the hands

In nomine Patris, + et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.
Introibo ad altare Dei. R: Ad deum qui laetificat juventutem meam.


Where? Never heard of such a thing. A bishop’s MC wears a black cassock, if he is not such a monsignor.


It’s a local custom, that was once more often seen. I’m not sure if there’s any legislation on it. I’ll try to dig up my copy of the Ceremonial for Bishops. Give me a day or two and I’ll see what I find.


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