Question: Why do priests wear vestments? Do they have a special meaning?
Answer: Vestments are clothes worn for a specific purpose. Priests will joke that they cover a thousand flaws. But our own manner of dress often corresponds to what we do. We dress up for special occasions, and for special guests. We wear certain clothes for golf, for outdoor activities, and years ago, we even had our “Sunday best” clothes we wore just for Church. Vestments are much the same, and each one has a meaning. The alb is a reminder of the baptismal garment. The stole is a symbol of ordained ministry and authority within the Church. The chasuble reminds us that we are on a pilgrimage of faith, passing through this life towards heaven.
Priests wear vestments for two basic reasons. First, they draw attention to the importance and solemnity of the act of worship. The color of the vestments indicates the season of the year or the feast being celebrated. Secondly, vestments draw attention to what the priest does, rather than who he is. In the celebration of the Mass, the focus is on what we do together, on our common unity, and on the mystery and person of Christ.