Red Cassock? Altar serving priests...?

Hi there. Me again.

I just noticed that one of the priests in our archdiocese is always wearing a red cassock, similar to that of an altar server. He’s always wearing it (of course except when he’s the celebrant), especially when he’s with our archbishop.

Is there a particular special position for priests… like an eternal altar server or something? I noticed that he’s also always assisting in concelebrated masses, not as a priest but as an altar boy. He’s the only priest in our archdiocese who’s always wearing a red cassock. The only priest positioned beside the Archbishop, like an altar boy.

Thanks! Really curious but I can’t ask him personally because his parish is far from mine.

He is most likely a monsignor that is serving as the bishop’s Master of Ceremonies. When serving as the MC they would dress in choir dress which, for many monsignors, is a purplish red cassock and surplice like the priest 6th from the left:

In my diocese, the Vicar General is a monsignor that generally serves as the MC with our bishop. When another priest, such as the rector of the cathedral, serves as MC they wear the proper choir dress for their rank (black cassock and surplice).


Oh, so the proper term is a choir dress.

That certain priest is not a monsignor though. But yea, I think he could be an MC. Thanks!

Fr. Z!! :smiley:


Is the color the same as the picture above?

or he is wearing scarlet red?

FYI - The correct term is “Acolyte,” not “altar boy” or “altar server” in this situation.

He’s doing far more than simply an altar server or altar boy. :wink:

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I wore a red cassock when I was an altar boy. Nowadays, I wear a black cassock when I serve. I don’t know why we had the red one’s when I was a kid.

It’s bright red (so… scarlet? Not really familiar with colors yikes)! And he’s wearing a cassock underneath.

Weird. I’m only aware of Altar Boys wearing that…

There is an adult altar server at one church I sometimes attend for daily Mass who is in the red cassock with the white tunic (sorry I don’t recall the proper word) over it, always. Because he is always in it regardless of the season, I assumed it was simply a color preference, given that he may have bought his own attire to fit him, since he serves a lot of the daily Masses.

This makes me think: does anyone know whether scarlet cassocks are worn in Catholic churches in Britain? (I mean other than by cardinals, of whom we only have one.) In the Church of England and Church of Scotland scarlet cassocks are restricted to chaplains to the sovereign and clergy and laity serving royal foundations. Do Catholic churches avoid scarlet cassocks in order to respect these traditions of the Churches of England and Scotland?

We have red and black - red for Christmas and Easter seasons, black for the rest of the year. I recall Father saying it was “just like the Vatican does” at one time.

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The question is about a priest, not an altar boy.

There apparently is a priest wearing scarlet red when he is MCing the mass.


For clarification- when the priest is wearing a scarlet red cassock, are their altar boys wear the red scarlet too?

In other words, he the priest only wearing scarlet when the altar boys are wearing scarlet? Or is he wearing red by himself?

Hi Phil -
I didn’t intend to answer you directly, but there seemed to be a question earlier about whether red was permitted for altar servers at all - it is. As for priests in choir dress, I presume if he’s serving with the bishop, it’s well-known and approved, but I can’t point you to a particular precedent.

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