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Can priests wear green vestments on St. Patrick’s Day?


Catholic Diocese of Saginaw | CC

Philip Kosloski - published on 03/13/24

If green represents St. Patrick, can a priest put on his green chasuble when celebrating Mass on his feast day?

Many Catholics who attend Mass on March 17 might expect the priest to be wearing the color green.

Green has become the color most widely associated with St. Patrick’s Day and has numerous connections to shamrocks, Ireland and most modern depictions of St. Patrick.

Is green the correct liturgical color for St. Patrick’s Day?

In most of the United States, St. Patrick’s Day is an “optional memorial,” meaning that it is not required to be celebrated liturgically and does not supersede the Lenten observance.

This means that the most appropriate liturgical color on St. Patrick’s Day is violet.

Violet represents penance and sorrow for sin. It is worn during Advent and Lent, as well as other occasions connected to penance or reparation.

However, in some places (such as Ireland), St. Patrick’s Day is a solemnity.

This means that it does supersede the Lenten observance. Whenever that happens, the priest can wear the color white.

White represents holiness, purity, cleanliness, and righteousness. White is worn during the joyful seasons of Easter and Christmas; on feasts of Our Lord not connected to his Passion and death; on feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and on feasts of angels and saints who did not shed their blood for the Christian faith.

The color green is never worn outside of Ordinary Time.

This means that green is not a liturgical color for St. Patrick’s Day, even though the entire world might be wearing green.

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