Bespoke Clerical Millinery for the Discerning Clergyman

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Competition entry #4

Picture 1: Feast of the Holy Cross 2010, Saint John's Church (Episcopal/Anglican) Passaic, New Jersey

Picture 2: At the Solemn Procession: Father Graeme Lawrence, retired Dean, Christ Church Cathedral, Diocese of New Castle, Australia, Preacher (without biretta) [Careful now, Team DB],  Father Donald Shearer, Celebrant, Father Thiele, Rector, as Deacon of the Mass

Submitted by Ernesto D. Munoz.


  1. To be quite honest, the lack of biretta doesn't bother me so much as the lack of stole. One would think that even in the high Protestant communions they would at least manifest their power to preach and function.

    Unless of course the preacher is not ordained, which would be perfectly understandable, as to why no stole or even biretta.

  2. Dear Mr. Milam,

    Since the entry has him titled "Father", then clearly he is not a layman.

    Father Lawrence, however, was the Preacher that day. The photos are of the Procession preceding the High Mass. I am not familiar with sermons occurring during Solemn Processions. I suppose it is a possibility, but not in this parish. He was not preaching when theses photos were taken. Therefore there was no need for a stole. At the Mass he was "In Choir" and as such did not need to wear anything other than a surplice. There was a stole ready for him to wear when he stepped up to the pulpit and he donned it then. I assure you that there is sound orthodox preaching at Saint John's and the preachers dress the part. Following the sermon Father removed the stole but put it on again when going up to the altar to make his Communion, after which it was again removed and simply left on the stall he was occupying.

    You may wish to consult "The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described" Fortescue/O'Connell, (12th edition, 1962) p. 32
    "When preaching the preacher, if a secular priest, wears a surplice. He MAY wear a stole of the colour of the day, if this is the custom". Additionally you may wish to refer to J. O'Connell again in "The Celebration of Mass: A Study of the Rubrics of the Roman Missal" vol. III - The Rite of High Mass and Sung Mass, p.106 "The preacher wears a surplice, unless he is a Regular who preaches in the habit of his Order. If customary, he MAY wear a stole of the colour of the day." Emphasis mine in both cases.
    In his "Handbook for Ceremonies" (1936), J.B. Mueller writes "Concerning the use of the stole in general, the following points are to be observed...it is prescribed...during a sermon, IF THAT IS THE CUSTOM..." (p. 375) Emphasis again mine.

    I am sorry that I cannot at the moment check any other sources.


  3. No worries. From the reading of the caption, I assumed that Fr. Lawrence was the subdeacon. it reads a little jumbled.

    As for the use of stoles with or without cope, I am only familiar with the Catholic Church, not the Anglican communion; so I again made assumptions based upon the photos.

    Finally, I have seen several lay theologians preach in the Anglican/Anglo-Catholic communion, so the assumption certainly isn't unfounded.

    Thanks for the clarification. I appreciate it.

  4. Mr. Milam,

    My pleasure.
    I myself am only familiar with the use of the cope in the Roman Church from a "theoretical" point of view since the parishes in my area do not make use of it at all other than for Benediction but that too is pretty much non-existent. Indeed, the last time I attended that service in a Roman setting here the priest wore an alb and a wide stole with which he grasped the monstrance at the appropriate time. No Roman Catholic parish here has the Daily Office so I do not know what would be used. Once at the R.C. cathedral there was Vespers and the bishop wore a cope but all other clergy were in cassock-albs and stoles.

    Because you aroused my curiosity I pulled out my copy of "Vestments and Church Furniture", Robert Lesage, 1960, and he has the following to say about the use of copes:
    "While all the Mass vestments are blessed the cope is not; it is not solemnly given during ordination ceremonies, no symbolical meaning has been assigned to it. This vestment which is a ceremonial garb without any special significance may be worn by all members of the clergy from the merely tonsured up to the sovereign pontiff; that indicates the very different occasions on which it may be worn. The celebrant priest or bishop may don it for solemn offices other than that of the Mass, with or without stole, for instance for Vespers, Lauds, funerals, processions, etc...it is also a vestment common to cantors and lower clerics..." (p. 124)

    As far as lay people preaching in Roman churches here it seems to be limited to nuns, directors of religious education and youth leaders but not usually theologians. Often their sermon is delivered after the brief introduction by the priest-celebrant who explains that what he is saying is the sermon and the address to follow is just that, an address, although the time-slot dedicated to each would not support that claim.

    It has been wonderful sharing...and all because of birettas!