Wearing Albs for Mass?


Why do some church have their lectors, communion ministers and altar servers in white garments? Some do not do this - but are we supposed to do this? I've also seen people during Easter wearing them too.

--Anguish in Atlanta


The white garment that liturgical ministers wear is called an "alb." It stands for the Latin, for white. It is the vesture of all the baptized, since at our baptism we have been given a white garment to reflect that we are now clothed in Christ. The 3rd edition of the General Instruction on the Roman Missal, paragraph 339 says:

In the United States of America, acolytes, altar servers, lectors, and other lay ministers may wear the alb or other suitable vesture other
appropriate and dignified clothing.

The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy wrote in [an] Introduction to the Order of the Mass, paragraph 57:

The garment common to all ministers is the alb, which can express unity and enhance the visual dignity of the

In both of these paragraphs, the option is sited - it is not mandatory, since for the most part, it is culturally determined if it is used and repeatedly used after one's baptism. Many parishes to ask their newly baptized adults to wear their alb during the Easter Season as a witness to their community until Pentecost, while they are called "neophytes."

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