Awesome Chasubles!-A A +A
Sunday, February 17, 2013
FR. BOY Salvador and Fr. Casi Quiacao have got to the best-vested priests in Cagayan de Oro these days, something which, I hope, will usher in a welcome breath of fresh air to the otherwise sloppy way priests normally vest themselves.
I can never fully understand how it became that way, but in the last maybe forty years, priestly vestments have clearly deteriorated. I suspect it has to do with the wrong way some well-intentioned, but horribly ignorant priests interpreted the spirit of Vatican II.
I suspect these priests interpreted Vatican II as a wholesale demystifying of the Church to make her accessible to the poor. It’s no secret that Vatican II is supposed to accord the poor preferential attention. Thus, taking the cue from the liturgy being now in the local dialect instead of the traditional Latin, these priests thought it all right to water down everything else.
The first casualty was liturgical music. The organ and Gregorian chant were thrown out the window, to be replaced by the hideous guitar and “Hey Jude” (yes, the Beatles’ song). Then the liturgical texts followed, with English translations that were clearly watered down to accommodate ecumenical sentiments. For instance, “pro multis” in the Eucharistic Prayers, while clearly translates into “for many,” was translated “for all.”
A lot of other silly watering down followed, including this matter of the priestly vestments.
Fifteen years ago, at the Xavier University chapel, it was a common sight to see priests celebrating the Holy Mass with only a Tetoron chasuble - alb and a stole. The chasuble- alb, being made of sheer material, enables one to see underneath. Thus, if a priest happens to be wearing a Tanduay T-shirt, the Tanduay name and logo would be clearly visible beneath the vestment. I remember having more than one write-up in my former column about this malpractice, but nothing came out of it. Which is crazy, considering that the faithful have a right to worship God with all the respect and even awe worthy of God’s majesty. Yet, here come these shabbily vested priests trying their best to demystify the Holy Mass.
You’ll often hear them prescribing the shabbiest, smallest, humblest everything believing Jesus Christ would want the shabbiest, smallest, humblest for himself forgetting that Jesus Christ did not limit himself to humble appointments. He accepted Matthew’s invitation to dinner, a party attended by the well-to-do. He had the Last Supper at the “upper room,” which, believe me, is not a tiny room at all: 120 Catholics were there at Pentecost. In fact, some believe that the “upper room” still exists today at the Cenacle of Mt. Zion [credit: Wiki.]
Pope Benedict XVI himself believes that the “upper room” of the Last Supper and that of the Pentecost are one and the same. [See http://www.oswaldsobrino.com/2006/07/upper-room.html]
It was not simply like what it used to be when I was a kid. External appearances are very important in our religious life and worship. That’s why God specified certain vestments to be worn by the Mosaic priesthood. Check out Exodus 28 and marvel at the painstaking detail with which the vesting of the priests has to be done.
The vesting of the priest is a sight to see. The priest puts on the “amice” first, a white oblong linen cloth with long tapes sewn to two corners. It is touched to the top of the head, brought down the shoulders and tied around the chest, symbolizing the “helmet of salvation” of which St. Paul speaks.
The priest then dons the “alb,” a long, white robe. This is bound about the waist by a cord of braided linen or wool called “cincture,” which, at the same time, is a symbol of chastity, a restraint of physical desires. With the cincture on, the priest now adjusts the alb by pulling in on it, so that it is neither too short nor too long. That’s why there’s invariably a full-length mirror in every vesting room.
Next comes the “stole,” a long band of colored cloth going over the shoulder and hanging down the chest. This symbolizes the “robe of immortality” clothing the soul.
Last comes the “chasuble,” a large colored vestment, usually heavily ornamented hanging from the shoulders front and back. The chasuble and stole come in five colors, the color of the day dictated by which particular day it is: white, red, green, violet and black.
If you want to see priests vested as they should be, come to St. Francis Xavier chapel at the back of SM. Catholics wanting to know more may want to visit this site: https://www.facebook.com/groups/gulp.tpc/?fref=ts.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 18, 2013.