Gaudete Rose is coming; WDTPRS POLL

We know that blue is not the color for the season of Advent in the Latin Church.

But we also know that on one Sunday of Advent we can have a variation from purple/violet.

Therefore, confident in the principle behind the Latin adage repetita iuvant, let’s revisit a post from last year about Advent rose, or in Latin rosacea.

Today priests can wear "rose" vestments.  Everyone knows this.

But I do get questions about what shade of "rose" this is.  What does "rose" mean?

Today I said Mass with rose vestments and to use true rosacea.

I am in good company in not wanting to wear pink, or confuse it with liturgical rose, or rosacea in Latin.

"But Father! But Father!", some of you are even now wildly typing.  "Surely you don’t wear pink, …  … do you?"

Nope, dear readers.  Fr. Z does not wear pink vestments, unless he must sacrifice for the greater good. 

I am comfortable with myself, after all.

[Though after that Harry Potter movie we know that pink is the new black… but I digress.]

Sure, for the sake of distinguishing Gaudete from other Advent Sundays, I have consented to putting on a pinkish vestment when I didn’t have a good clear choice.

The good outweighs the bad, in those cases.

However, liturgical rose really is a color.  And real priests always choose rosacea for Gaudete and Laetare.

"But Father! But Father!", some of you saying with furrowed brows.  "If rose isn’t pink, then what is it?"

Here are a couple examples of what this color is.  Keep in mind that on my monitor they look just right.  On your monitor, they might not be the same.  That said,…

Here is a vestment I shot in Rome in the sacristy of Gesu e Maria on the Via del Corso.  It is too spectacular for words.  Click on it to get a close up so you can see the color better.

I have a very nice, very old set of rosacea vestments I brought back from Rome.  They were given to me by an ultra-modernist priest who was getting rid of old stuff.  

Here they are.

And closer.  You can see the little Roman style pom pom on the corner of the burse.

Notice that rosacea, in both the versions I show here, are a little more on the orange side of pink, closer to salmon.

And now you will have a more discerning Catholic eye when Gaudete and Laetare roll around.




And I will have another poll to find out what happened.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. tzard says:

    Does the underlyment color have any meaning/use?

  2. ssoldie says:

    What beautiful vestments, I am glad you got the throw aways, the priest just did not know what treasures he had.

  3. shin says:

    Honestly I dislike a lot of the purple/violet shades I see used in vestments. So I wonder what the full range of kinds of purple/violet are permitted?

  4. Adam Welp says:

    Alas, our parish does not have a set of rose vestments. If I could afford it, I would buy a set and donate them. I’m thinking about asking the Archabbot of St. Meinrad if I can come to the Archabbey next year, during my five week sabbatical from work, and learn to make vestments. If I ever learn to make vestments, the first two sets will be rose and black.

  5. Francisco Cojuanco says:

    We have a set of rose vestments at our parish. Like all the other vestments, it’s rather… plain, back from the days when more liberal priests said Mass, but it’s definitely not hot pink. Our parish has a large population of Mexican and Filipino grandmothers, and if anything goes too out of hand… trust me, you do not want to see what it looks like.

    We don’t have black, though…

  6. Marq says:

    A fully expect my priest to be wearing rose vestments (albeit a bit too pastel for my tastes), just like in previous years. However, a tailor has been let loose in the sacristy, so who knows what will appear? Definitely anthing blue or otherwise silly, though.

  7. bookworm says:

    Real men (priests) don’t wear pink! :-)

  8. Supertradmom says:

    Sadly, some of our Latin Mass priests who are not members of orders, have a hard time finding rose vestments. Any suggestions how we can help them?

  9. becket1 says:

    Father you should take some nice hi res photos of your chapel and altar and post them.

  10. Kerry says:

    One wonders what the “modernist Priest” who gave away the roses substituted, nettles…? Poison oak…?

  11. MrsHall says:

    Father wears purply purple and rosey rose during Advent. Like you, Fr. Z., he says, “Father does not wear pink!” We were just talking about that and looking forward to hearing him say it again on Sunday.

    The rosacea vestments are stunning. It is amazing what people get rid of in their bid for being modern. It’s like throwing away Grandma’s Willow ware dishes for melmac. Yuck.

  12. dhgyapong says:

    A few years ago, a friend of mine and I were browsing in a second hand liturgical shop here in Ottawa that featured many beautiful items that had been cast out of Catholic Churches, especially in Quebec, during the Quiet Revolution and Vatican II modernizations.

    We discovered a beautiful rose chasuble, silk, with a green lining. So we gals bought it and donated it to our little Tradtional Anglican Communion parish.

    Of course we only see it twice a year. But it adds to our joy.

    And yes, our priests wear blue vestments for Feasts of the Virgin Mary.


  13. William says:

    Is that a reliquary sitting atop the Tabernacle in Fr. Z’s chapel? CMIIW, but I thought that nothing was to be placed on top of the Tabernacle. Spectacular vestments!

  14. JohnMa says:

    At St. Mary’s in DC there is a great rose high Mass set that will come out this Sunday. It is kept locked away far from the Church so no one can get any “ideas” about what should be done with it.

  15. FrCharles says:

    I wish we had some in our sacristy! Sadly, no church I have ever worked in has had a rose vestment.

  16. Father S. says:

    If priests are looking to find inexpensive and very fine rose vestments, there is a company in India ( that produces very nice quality vestments for under $200. They produce Roman and Gothic vestments. I recently purchases a gold Roman set and am very pleased. The shipping is reasonable and the items arrive in about two weeks. I did some checking to make certain that there is no child labor or immoral labor and have been given the best assurances I could get without actually visiting the place.

    My rose vestment is just over fifty years old. It is so heavy with gold thread that it does not need ties. It used to belong to the local Redemptorist provincial house before they packed up and moved out. I went up into the attic of the rectory (now a diocesan parish) and the habits, cloaks, and old vestments were all up in boxes. I found 23 full sets (chasuble, dalmatic, tunicle). Some were moth eaten, but many were salvageable. I enjoy that discovery nearly every day at Holy Mass!

  17. I did a little online searching for fabric. For some reason, decorator fabric (for curtains, upholstery, etc.) seems to be more likely to call “rose” something like what’s shown here. (Especially in the UK.)This isn’t necessarily bad, as you might want a more heavy-duty fabric for vestments. (You can have them send you a swatch to try, so you can figure out how heavy stuff really is.)

    Otherwise, it seems that “coral”, “salmon”, “rose/coral”, or “scarlet” are more likely to get good results. I’d use the image search if I were you, to eliminate non-rose stuff immediately.

  18. Kimberly says:

    This might be a little bit of a rabbit hole, but I think of the person who made this and what a wonderful gift God gave this person. Beautiful.

  19. irishgirl says:

    Wow-that vestment from Rome is spectacular, Father Z! Is that silver in the threads?

    And I like the photo from your chapel, too!

    I don’t know if you realize this, but ‘rosecea’ is also the name of a facial rash! I should know-I suffer from it!

  20. Suburbanbanshee: Good suggestions.

  21. Melania says:

    Wow! Gorgeous vestments. Real treasures. The priest who gave up the ones you have was quite foolish. Well, his loss, your gain.

    And I confirm that your vestments are definitely not pink. No one in their right mind could take them for pink. Those vestments and pink are poles apart. ;-)

  22. I have to say it will definitely be some odd choice. Our “rose” vestments are these hideous nearly hot pink creations. Unfortunately, they are not even close to being rose. But, at least we won’t be wearing purple. I’m honestly not sure which is worse.

    John P.

  23. Jason Keener says:

    Those are very beautiful vestments, Father Z.

    I personally prefer rose vestments that look more like a bubble gum pink, as is the color of the altar frontal in your chapel. The rose colored vestments that you have on, although very beautiful, do not seem to be very distinguishable from red vestments worn for the feast days of the Holy Spirit and martyrs. It would seem if the Church calls for the special color of rose to be worn, rose should look different than the liturgical color of red. That’s just my take on it.


  24. tioedong says:

    Umm…I don’t know what colour the priest wore.

    Guess I’m too busy praying to notice.

  25. JPG says:

    tioedong, Gaudete is this Sunday. My local Parish will have purple. St Mary’s in Norwalk will have Rose. One can see these from pictures at the St Hugh of Cluny blogspot, in a posting from 12/08. I attended the 9:30 last week and the violet which are also pictured were magnificent.

  26. tired student says:

    Can rose vestments be worn during the Gaudete week in the extraordinary form? In other words, can a priest wear rose when he’s celebrating the Gaudete Sunday Mass again on a ferial day? It’d be nice for a parish to use the rose vestments more than twice a year.

  27. I wonder how far back do the rubrics go for specifying rosacea? A year or so ago I looked into the history of rose-colored dyes, and just did a quick review of historical dyes and color names.

    The huge explosion in dye colors, including hot pink, date from the middle of the 20th century. Dyes described as ‘rose’ have proliferated, with several variants dating back to the early 19th century. However, as far as I can tell, the only ‘rose’ dye dating back to antiquity is Rose madder, which is made from the root of the Common madder plant, Rubia tinctorium. It was cultivated at least as early as 1500 BC in Egypt, and the dye has been found in Pompeii. Charlemagne encouraged its use. Rose madder was the color used by the English Army – the Redcoats – and is still used by the French military.

    Fresh Rose madder dye is a crimson color – slightly bluish red. It is transparent and so would not produce saturated color on fine linen or silk textiles. This dye is very sensitive to light, and will fade to a salmon color: this is not a problem with vestments that see the light of day only twice a year, although this fading may also occur just due to age. However, there is a range of colors that can be produced by this natural dye from purplish to orangish: but the only color that can be fairly called ‘pink’ is distinctly red-bluish in color when fresh, and would fade to a salmon color.

    What distinguishes all of the Rose madder shades from true pink is the relatively stronger reflectance of light in the green part of the spectrum, making the range of rose shades more interesting than pure pink.

    Rose madder can be mixed with blue to produce a nice purple color: this may be the dye used historically in liturgical vestments although the original purpura or Tyrian purple used by Emperors is a somewhat different shade. Certainly further investigation is warranted.

    Rose madder was the first natural dye that was synthetically duplicated, which is known as Alizarin crimson; this synthetic dye lacks a second, yellowish pigment found in the natural plant, and produces a slightly less saturated color.

  28. Dave N. says:

    But, but…whatever will happen to what is known to everyone in our parish as “pink Sunday” if we switch to rose?

  29. germangreek says:

    Surely the Fisheaters website [] approves the use of liturgical salmon!

  30. Agnes says:

    Pink is the new Black. LOL. My eyes are pretty bad. If it’s not red, and it’s not orange, on my very limited color palette of 16 crayons- it is pink.

    At least it’s only once a year! Rejoice!

  31. Re: clearly distinguishing rose from red

    Historically, the Japanese thought of blue and green as shades of the same color, “aoi”. Historically, the Irish thought of green and gray as shades of the same color, “glas”.

    Sooooo, going by the “colors are what my culture says” criterion, blue should be perfectly fine for Ordinary Time, and so should gray. And yet… the Japanese and Irish Catholics have absolutely no trouble getting the right vestment colors.

    So just because Anglospherians have trouble distinguishing the rose of dawn from the red of martyrs, that doesn’t give us any special powers in the matter of redefining rose.

  32. Re: rose madder

    Ooh! Found a good post from a dye hobbyist. Scroll down through the various sample pictures. It’s very interesting, the range of colors you can get from madder.

  33. rinkevichjm says:

    In many languages rose and pink are the same word or derived from the word for rose.
    Spanish: rosa [rose], rosada o color rosa [pink]
    Lithuanian: ro&382&279 [rose], ro&279inis [rose colored, pink]

  34. Phil says:

    I know that each of the liturgical colors represents something. What is the significance of Rose? I heard that it is a blending of the Advent Preparation (Purple/Violet) with the Joyful Expectation of Christmas (White). Is this true?

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