New vestments debut at ordination Mass

Vestments are an important part of any liturgical celebration in the church. Since con-celebration became a practice of the church, there has been an effort to coordinate the vesture of priests in the sanctuary.
Most dioceses have a set of official con-celebration vestments for diocesan Masses where many priests gather such as the annual Mass of Chrism during Holy Week, ordinations, anniversaries and funerals of priests. The Diocese of Jackson has just acquired a new set of vestments which were debuted at the ordination of three new priests on May 31.
According to Mary Woodward, director of the bishop’s liturgy office, “the previous set of vestments served the diocese very well for more than 15 years. But because of so many years of travelling around the diocese in bags and trunks, the set began to show a lot of wear and tear. Therefore in the fall of 2013, the priests’ council began a search for a new vestment set.
“During the preparations for the ordination of Bishop Joseph Kopacz, we ordered several vestments to compliment an existing set used mainly for visiting bishops. The new ones coordinated well with the existing set and the decor of the cathedral,” Woodward added.
Made by Chagall Designs in this country, the priests’ council chose to order a vestment for each priest in the diocese, including retired clergy and to have extras for visiting clergy and future ordinations.
Parishes will cover the cost of the vestment for their pastor or sacramental minister. The diocese is providing a vestment for the retired priests and for vestments set aside for visiting clergy and future priests.
“Chagall has two main sizes, but also custom makes sizes. Each priest was contacted and asked for his height so the proper size could be ordered for him,” Woodward stated. “After hearing from most every priest, the diocese ordered a mixture of sizes for the extra set,” she continued. A total of 101 vestments were ordered.
Instead of keeping the entire set at the diocesan offices, now each priest is responsible for caring for and transporting his own vestment. To assist in this the diocese provided a bag and hanger for each vestment set to help maintain its life.
Diocesan staff and Cathedral altar guild members prepared each vestment with a name and bag for the ordination. “It took about eight total hours of steaming the vestments as part of the preparation for the ordination,” said Woodward. “They were shipped across the country packed 12 to a box so when unpacked there were some definite creases in them.
“Overall our priests were very pleased with the new vestment, and many in the congregation at the ordination offered nice compliments. We hope this new set will last as long as the previous set,” Woodward concluded.
For clergy unable to make the ordination Mass, vestments were being transported to them at the various anniversary celebrations. If anyone would like to assist in providing a vestment to a retired priest, please contact Woodward at (601) 960-8475.