By Archbishop Michael Jackels
The priest leads the celebration of Holy Mass in special clothing called vestments.
Wearing vestments signifies that Holy Mass is not an ordinary or everyday event. It also communicates that Christ, and not the priest, is the center of attention.
The priest wears a white shoulder to ankle garment called an alb (from the Latin word for white). It symbolizes the purity of being sinless, which is necessary to enter heaven and to lead worship.
The alb is tied around the waist with a cincture (from the Latin word to gird, or wear a belt). It also symbolizes purity, which is won by self-mastery empowered by God’s grace.
The priest then drapes a long strip of material around his neck, over his shoulders, hanging down front. This is called a stole (from the Latin word for clothing or vestment). It signifies that the priest is authorized to lead worship and preach.
Over all this he wears what looks like a poncho, called a chasuble (from the Latin word for little house). It signifies that his life is hidden with Christ in God, that he now stands in the place of Christ, performing a ministry out of love for Jesus.