Vesting Prayers

One of my volunteer positions at my parish is that of MC and Altar Server coordinator. Since I started in that position, we’ve made any number of changes. One of the simplest and most profound, though, was the reintroduction of Vesting Prayers.

And what are they? In the immemorial tradition of the Roman Rite, certain prayers were recited while vesting for Mass. Indeed, each vestment had its own specific prayer, that alluded to the symbolic meaning behind that particular vestment.

Such things weirdly fell out of favour following the liturgical reform.

I have even heard some say that the vesting prayers are no longer “done”. I would draw the attention of these folks to the web page of the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff.

Here, in a document titled “Liturgical Vestments and the Vesting Prayers“, we find this:

In the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite (the so-called Mass of Pius V), the putting on of the liturgical vestments is accompanied by prayers for each garment, prayers whose text one still finds in many sacristies. Even if these prayers are no longer obligatory (but neither are they prohibited) by the Missal of the ordinary form promulgated by Paul VI, their use is recommended since they help in the priest’s preparation and recollection before the celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice. As a confirmation of the utility of these prayers it must be noted that they are included in the Compendium Eucharisticum, recently published by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments1.

(Emphasis added)

While the Vatican instruction is focused on the vesting prayers of the priest, there is no reason to suppose that the vesting prayers of the servers (or the deacon!) should be ignored.

Indeed, the use of these vesting prayers has proven to focus our servers, and to remind them of the awesome duty they are about to undertake.

To facilitate the use of these prayers, we have developed a series of signs, which we have posted in the sacristy.

For the Altar Servers, we have two, since our male servers vest in cassock and surplice, and our female servers2 vest in alb and cincture.

For the sake of completeness, we have also put together similar signs for the vesting of deacons and priests.

Since I think these would be useful to many parishes, I am posting links to the PDFs below. Print, post, and pray!

We have also developed signs for the traditional prayers for the washing of the hands, for leaving the sacristy, and a poster sign for what in the Extraordinary Form is called the “prayers at the foot of the altar”.

This last one – a 24″ x 36″ illustrated poster – hangs in our narthex and is prayed by priest and servers before the Introit.

If anybody expresses interest, I will be happy to post those as well.

  1. Libreria Editrice Vaticana: Città del Vaticano, 2009, pp. 385-386.
  2. And apprentices!