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A visual guide to the liturgical colors seen at Mass

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Here's the meaning of the colors and the spiritual truths they symbolize.

Throughout the Church’s liturgical year, priests wear several different color vestments. The colors are not arbitrary, but reflect a deeper meaning that is meant to point us to a specific spiritual theme.

Since ancient times, whenever a priest celebrated the sacrifice of the Mass he would put on a large poncho-like garment called a casula (chasuble) that covered his ordinary clothing. This vestment developed from the ordinary Roman attire of a farmer, who wore the large poncho to protect him from the elements. By the 8th century the chasuble was reserved for clergy members and a few centuries later specific colors were in use.

The colors were developed to highlight different spiritual truths according to the day in the Church’s calendar. That way, when someone attended Mass they could immediately recognize the color and associate it with the season or day that was being celebrated. It led the people into a deeper understanding of the faith and reinforced whatever spiritual lesson that needed to be taught.

Below is a visual guide to the colors of the liturgical year, with the symbolism of each color.

Click “Launch the Slideshow” in the image below:

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