Teaching children about the vestments that Catholic priests wear during Mass and other religious services can give them greater knowledge about Catholicism. A lesson on priest vestments provides informative and helpful information that gets children more interested in their religion. This lesson is useful for a Catholic school religion class or a Sunday School class -- or just at home when your children want to learn more about the church.
Review the different pieces of a priest's vestment, and show pictures of each piece. Show students the alb, which is the white vestment that serves as the base of the priest's attire during Mass. Explain to students that its white colour symbolises purity and represents clothing that Jesus wore. Show pictures of the amice, which is a white piece that covers the priest's shoulders and goes over the alb. Tell them that the amice protects the priest from the temptations of the devil. Talk about the stole, which is the sash-like piece that priests wear during the Mass. Explain that the stole is reserved for liturgical rites, so priests will only wear this garment when they are celebrating Mass or officiating a sacrament like a baptism or wedding.
Discuss why priests wear vestments, and touch on the history of this religious tradition. Tell students that priests wear vestments when celebrating the liturgy or performing other sacraments, like baptisms or marriages. Explain that priests have been wearing these vestments since the beginning of the Catholic Church and that priests across the globe wear the same vestments as dictated by the church. Thus, tell students that priests wear these vestments to align with religious tradition.
Talk about different colour vestments that the priests wear. The Catholic Church calendar divides into different seasons, and the priests' vestments reflect the liturgical season. Children will likely be most familiar with the priests' green vestments, which they wear during ordinary time, the majority of the church calendar year. The green vestment symbolises new growth. Priests wear white for holidays like Easter and Christmas to symbolise the purity of these important religious holidays. They wear purple during the seasons of Advent and Lent to symbolise a more sombre time of penance.
If you're teaching children during a school or Sunday School class, have a priest come in to talk about his vestments. He can also answer children's question. Let children see the vestments in person to enhance their understanding of the priest's attire.