OCF 39: Liturgical Color

Some may be surprised by what is permitted here:

39. The liturgical color chosen for funerals should express Christian hope but should not be offensive to human grief or sorrow. In the United States, white, violet, or black vestments may be worn at the funeral rites and at other offices and Masses for the dead.

Black, like rose, is a minor liturgical color, and optional at that. This is why it is almost always eliminated from any purchased vestment set. My own sense is that all three colors could be utilized for clergy vestments.

White is most strongly associated with the Paschal Mystery–not only Easter, but Holy Thursday. The question for some parishes would be a plain white or an Easter white. My counsel would be toward the plain.

Violet has other associations in the liturgical year, of course. It may be the third-best of the monochrome choices here.

Any good vestments used in your parishes? Feel free to post links in the combox.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in Order of Christian Funerals, post-conciliar liturgy documents, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to OCF 39: Liturgical Color

  1. During Lent and Advent, I use violet. During Christmas and Easter, I use white. During Ordinary Time, I use what seems to complement the readings chosen, so if the family chooses one of the Easter readings, I use white vestments. The parish doesn’t have a black set. The only cope we have is white, so that settles the vigil question.

  2. Liam says:

    Violet seems like a good match to combining both sorrow and a sense of expectation, its other associations.

    In the US, at least, black is more associated with smart fashion. The old half-mourning colors (combinations of gray, white, dull violets and lavenders) have yet to become hijacked by fashion as much.

    So ungilt violet trimmed with white, white trimmed with violet or black, et cet.

  3. Mike K says:

    I would let the season dictate the color used for a Funeral Mass:
    - White definitely for Christmas and Easter seasons. (Joy – or, in the case of a funeral, an anticipated joy)
    - Violet for Advent. (A time of spiritual preparation, including repentance)
    - Black for Lent. (Theme of repentance, of sorrow for our sins, etc.)
    - For Ordinary Time, what Father Farley said. I would allow the family some input into the decision, and would use the opportunity as a teaching moment.

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