Thursday, April 07, 2005

 

Vestment colors

One of the most interesting things about a Catholic Mass is the way in which we use color to symbolize various things. Since the names of the vestments won't necessarily matter when the time for the funeral comes, I'm posting what the colors you'll see mean. They have meanings other than the ones here, but for the Papal funeral I chose the most appropriate meanings.

The red of the Cardinals stands for the blood of Catholic martyrs, and represents each Cardinal's willingness to die for the Church. Some wear a dark purple, which means much the same thing, although purple is also the color of mourning vestments. Purple also stands for penance and sacrifice. The Cardinals also wear black edged with red ordinarily, and they might continue to wear some black as a sign of mourning.

White and gold symbolize joy and hope, and can be worn during funeral Masses to symbolize the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and thus to symbolize our hope that the departed is now in Heaven.

You will see a lot of red and white in the crowds as well. They are, of course, the colors of Poland, the homeland of Pope John Paul II. The yellow and white flag you'll see is the flag of the Vatican. There will also be flags bearing a blue standard crossed with gold, with an "M" in the bottom right corner--this is Pope John Paul II's standard, representing his love of the Virgin Mary. The motto "Totus Tuus" will also be seen a great deal, I'd assume, and is the Pope's personal motto, meaning "completely yours," his dedication of himself to the Virgin Mary.

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