Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Why Do Priests Wear Green in Ordinary Time?

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Why Do Priests Wear Green in Ordinary Time?

Article excerpt

Ordinary Time, or the season in the liturgical calendar outside of Advent, Lent, and the Christmas and Easter seasons, is a time when the church focuses on the life and ministry of Jesus. The season celebrates the mysteries of Christ's life and death and looks forward to the salvation and eternal life that he brings. Green represents hope--like the hope we feel when we see the first buds in springtime--and it is thus fitting that green is the liturgical color that marks this season.

Or, at least, that's the rationale the modern church gives for the rule about wearing green during Ordinary Time. In reality, however, the reason might have been much more practical. Ordinary Time is the longest liturgical season, and green plant dyes would have been one of the most widely available kinds of dyes. The color brings to mind the tender, new shoots of spring and the lush grasses and summer crops that sustained animals and people throughout the year. This leads naturally to seeing green as a sign of hope and life.

In the earliest church, most priests probably wore white. The original vesture for Mass in the West was simply the formal attire of Roman gentlemen, which was white. As time went on and Christianity spread, the vestments worn by priests gradually grew more elaborate. The liturgical year developed, and colors came to be associated with different feasts and seasons. These colors varied, however, based on culture, the availability of colored dyes, and local traditions. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.