Use of fascia by altar server (EF)

One serving the altar according to the Extraordinary Form wears the choir dress of a clerk in minor orders while discharging his function, generally a cassock with Roman collar and a surplice. I’ve recently received a lovely new cassock with a fascia. Are there any restrictions on the wearing of the fascia by a lay altar server during his duties at the altar?

AFAIK, it depends on the pastor, at least in my OF experience.

I’m a Head MC at a traditional OF parish, and I’m allowed to wear the fascia as a sign of my office.

The pastor doesn’t concern himself too greatly with the EF community and delegates everything concerning it to the curate who usually celebrates it. This curate has in turn tasked me to find out if its specific use by a Master of Ceremonies (not yet instituted to Lector or Acolyte as the bishop has been cool to the idea) is specifically interdicted anywhere. All I can find as yet is a specific forbidding of the fascia to boys made in 1900, with no comments about whether men serving in the roles of minor clerics. Fortescue is silent as well, so it seems there is nothing specific written concerning this – unless there is something I have missed.

This is just my observation, but from my experience with EF communities (FSSP, ICKSP), the only people who wear it are at least tonsured seminarians.


I’ve heard (from an unofficial source, so there’s a chance that I’m wrong) that only seminarians ‘and up’ could wear them.

More research shows no clearly definitive statements about the matter, but the evidence from practice seems to weigh against wearing one, as I’m having trouble even ascertaining if the fascia was part of the choir dress of the minor orders or of the subdiaconate. If the bishop offers to institute my colleagues and me to the ministries of lector and acolyte, it may be a matter worth revisiting then and perhaps consulting with the diocese’s liturgy office.

What is inappropriate about the classic cassock and surplice as altar boys wore in the 1950’s? Why this apparent need for Mini-Me sartorial clericalism? What’s next - miniature birettas? How does this add to the solemnity of the EF?

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Nothing is inappropriate about it. As the fascia came with the cassock as a gift from an appreciative parishioner and I wanted to look into the appropriateness of using it, I believe this is a valid question. It’s not something I’d have bought of my own accord.

However, I do strongly believe a strong sense of sartorial correctness is necessarily among senior servers, particularly as boys all too often show up to serve wearing sneakers and khaki trousers. That diminishes from the solemnity of mass, if you ask me. We need to set a good example in action, in devotion, and in our dress at the altar.

I don’t dispute correctness. But - in the USA at least the vast majority of Deacons aren’t allowed by their bishops to wear the Roman Collar. See other threads on this. So for a layman to wear both the collar and a fascia, no less, albeit in a liturgical setting, still seems off.

My use of a collar is in response to a request by the celebrating priest, who believes it most suitable considering the roles adopted by senior servers (men over 30 who are knowledgeable enough to serve as Master of Ceremonies) and understands that it is not necessarily an item of clerical apparel. He is also a strong advocate that we be particularly instituted into our roles according to the precepts of Ministeria Quaedam and come to embody ever more the roles and ministries of the now suppressed minor orders, including the subdiaconate, that are developed very richly in action in the ceremonies in place in 1962.

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There is no legislation concerning this. The layman is already taking place of a cleric, and is already assuming the clerical dress, so why some accessories should be prohibited does not make much sense. For instance, the laymen of the Sistine Chapel Choir wear Roman collars, which only seems appropriate as a cassock without some kind of a collar is unseemly.

Anyways, here is a picture of the Pope signing some kid’s fascia

I have also come across photographs and accounts of lay servers wearing all sorts of different things, including birettas. So long as it is moderated, within reason, that is, not playing “dress up,” and approved by the pastor, then there is nothing wrong whatsoever.


I agree although in fairness we did wear sashes on Christmas and Easter.

There’s no precedence for that in the Church.

Nothing wrong with some local tradition, but no one is going to equate the wearing of a fascia as a sign of an office – other than that of ordained of course. The faschia (or any cincture) does however have other qualities associated with it.

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Is there an alternative name for fascia? I thought the Catholic Encyclopedia may contain the answer to your question. It does not, however, have an entry for fascia. As that item is worn over the cassock I thought may be it may be covered under cassock but, alas, there is no entry for that either, which does surprise me. Thus, if there is another word for fascia there may be an entry under the alternative term, if one exists, in the Catholic Encyclopedia.

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“Band cincture.”

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Having looked under cincture (a.k.a. fascia) in the Catholic Encyclopedia it says use has developed on choir boys and altar servers. It goes on to say that whilst this practice is not expressly prohibited it is neither prescribed or recommended by ecclesiastical authority.

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