EVERAL years ago, I posted an image (on a poster promoting the Brébeuf hymnal) which showed a beautiful Requiem Mass. It seems appropriate—as we approach the Feast of All Souls November 2nd—that I release the full resolution image (SEE BELOW). This illumination shows the “Office of the Dead” being sung. In a small, private chapel adorned with heraldic banners, the deceased rests in a richly covered catafalque. Around him, hooded monks kneel during their devotions, members of the choir sing, and one monk passes out candles. Standing before the Altar, the priest leads the Requiem Mass.
Click below to download the full resolution image:
* PDF Download • Office of the Dead (FULL RESOLUTION)
—Standing before the Altar, the priest leads the Requiem Mass.
Vestment Colors • Fr. Fortescue
In that picture, notice the golden vestments worn by the priest (not black). At that time in history, the priest used whatever color was the most ornate for special Masses, irrespective of color. Here’s an excerpt from a paper—“The Vestments of the Roman Rite”—delivered by Father Adrian Fortescue in 1912:
The whole idea of a sequence colours is late, and purely Western. It arose gradually and almost insensibly. Even to the end of the Middle Ages colours were in a very loose state. Every diocese, almost every church, had its own customs. Our present rule dates from the revived missal of 1570. It is exceedingly clear and admirable, except that we have perhaps rather too much white. If white were kept for our Lord, our Lady, and virgins, and if we had one more colour (say the old saffron) for confessors and matrons, it would perhaps add dignity to the highest colour by making it rarer. But this is only a vague aspiration towards what, maybe, the Congregation of Rites might some day allow.
You can download the entire article (21 pages) by Father Fortescue:
* PDF Download • “Vestments of the Roman Rite” (FORTESCUE)
—Father Adrian Fortescue (d. 1923) gave this paper on 8 Feb 1912.
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
* IMAGE SOURCE: “Spinola Hours” created circa 1515AD in Ghent, Belgium.