At Mass, a Catholic priest is not dressed like the rest of the congregation. He is also not dressed like the ministers of most other Christian Churches. 

Over his ordinary clothing, a priest wears an amice, alb, cincture, stole and chasuble.

These special articles of clothing are called vestments and are designed and used for liturgical and historical reasons. They indicate the liturgical role of the person wearing them. 

These articles of clothing have symbolic meaning and specific prayers associated with each one of them.

The colors of the outer vestments indicate the season or holy day of the liturgical season.

The priest acts in the person of Christ:

In the ecclesial service of the ordained minister, it is Christ Himself who is present to his Church as Head of his Body, Shepherd of his flock, High Priest of the redemptive sacrifice, Teacher of Truth. This is what the Church means by saying that the priest, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, acts in persona Christi Capitis.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1548

A link to the ancient Church in Rome:

The prayerful vesting of a Catholic priest:

Special events deserve special dress:

In persona Christi: at the moment of priestly Ordination, the Church has also made this reality of “new clothes” visible and comprehensible to us externally through being clothed in liturgical vestments. In this external gesture she wants to make the interior event visible to us, as well as our task which stems from it: putting on Christ; giving ourselves to him as he gave himself to us. This event, the “putting on of Christ”, is demonstrated again and again at every Holy Mass by the putting on of  liturgical vestments. Vesting ourselves in them must be more than an external event: it means entering ever anew into the “yes” of our office — into that “no longer I” of Baptism which Ordination to the priesthood gives to us in a new way and at the same time asks of us. The fact that we are standing at the altar clad in liturgical vestments must make it clearly visible to those present that we are there “in the person of an Other”. Just as in the course of time priestly vestments developed, they are a profound symbolic expression of what the priesthood means.

Pope Benedict XVI, Chrism Mass, April 5, 2007

The amice, alb, and cincture are common vestments:

The stole represents the authority of Christ:

The chasuble puts the Jesus’ love at the forefront:

You shall make sacred vestments for the glorious adornment of your brother Aaron. And you shall speak to all who have ability, whom I have endowed with skill, that they make Aaron’s vestments to consecrate him for my priesthood. These are the vestments that they shall make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a checkered tunic, a turban, and a sash. When they make these sacred vestments for your brother Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests, they shall use gold, blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and fine linen.

Exodus 28: 2-5

The colors of the vestments have their own meaning:

Material provided by God and fashioned by man:

Eastern Catholic vestments are slightly different:

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

Prayer is…:

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