My daughter just received the sacrament of Confirmation. My son was given the honor to serve. He was given the opportunity to hold the bishops hat (I forget the name of it). He wore a “cape” with his hands tuck in so as not to touch the hat the same with the other server in charge with his staff. I asked our Deacon the reason. He was t sure, but though it for reverence. Is this correct? If not, what is the reason?
The hat is called a mitre and the staff is called a crosier. They are symbols of the episcopal office and its authority.
The cape is called a vimpa (plural = vimpae). It prevents direct contact by the server with the mitre and crosier.
Symbolically the use of a vimpa represents that the one holding the mitre or crosier is not the one to whom they belong. While that might seem obvious today when children are the altar servers performing these tasks, in centuries past when these roles were performed by other clergy it was an important visual distinction.
Of course, it also has the added benefit of preventing sweat/oil from the servers’ hands from staining or marking the mitre and crosier…