Contact Us

The wearing of the green: Pope Francis’ Irish vestments

By Susan Gately - 17 August, 2018

Vestments to be worn at masses during the World Meeting of Families 2018.

Pope Francis will wear green vestments inspired by Celtic imagery at Mass in the Phoenix Park. “At the centre of each vestment is the Trinity spiral, the same as can be seen in the WMOF2018 logo,” said Fr Damian McNeice, Master of Ceremonies to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, as he presented the vestments to the media on Wednesday.

“The three parts of the spiral represent the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and also draw from Celtic imagery, as spirals can be found on many ancient stones and monuments of Ireland’s past. The colours used in the spiral are the same green, red and gold as the vestments.”

The different colour vestments will be worn on different days of the Pastoral Congress of the World Meeting of Families. Wednesday 23 August is the feast of the Queenship of Our Lady, meriting the cream vestments, Thursday is ordinary time, where green vestments will be worn, and Friday is the feast of St Bartholomew, a martyr, so concelebrating clergy will wear red.

The head of the Liturgy Committee for WMOF2018 said the Pope would wear green in the Phoenix Park, as “green is a symbol of how God is ever-faithful, and it also quite appropriate for a celebration in Ireland”.

The vestments were produced by Haftina, a family business based in Poland, which specialises in liturgical vestments.

Fr McNeice noted that many of the vestments produced for the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1979 were still used today, particularly at ordination ceremonies, and said he hoped the new vestments would be a gift to the Irish Church and could be used in major celebrations for years to come.

Seventy of the green vestments have been newly made for WMOF, and these will be worn by concelebrants on the main sanctuary in the Phoenix Park. Twelve of both the gold and red vestments have also been produced. Thousands of similar green chasubles have been produced for other concelebrants to wear. More than 300 matching mitres have been produced for visiting bishops who will serve as principal concelebrants during WMOF2018.

Fr McNeice explained that the mitres came in different sizes. “[The head of] someone from Asia would be different to someone from North America.”

The Master of Ceremonies explained that in the run-up to the World Meeting, they had wanted to have something “particularly Irish” on the altar. He explained that when he and Archbishop Martin were at a Mass with the Carmelite Community, he saw an old penal cross there that dates back to 1763, hewn out of one piece of wood. “I was completely taken by it,” he said. “When you hold it it feels like skin.”

The carvings on the front and back of the cross are designed to tell the story of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This will be on the altar as Pope Francis celebrates Mass in the Phoenix Park. The penal cross has served as the inspiration for the beautiful processional cross, which was crafted by Anne Murphy of Eala Enamels in Carlow.

Follow us on Twitter @catholicireland

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,