O Come, O Come Liturgical Blue!

Over at NLM there is an interesting and serious post about Latin Rite blue vestments in Spain. 

There are some good photos over there (in which they specialize). 

For example:

H.E. Jesús Esteban Catalá Ibáñez, bishop of Málaga, celebrating First Vespers in his cathedral:


I look forward to the day when liturgical blue is approved more generally, for Marian feasts.

Until then, in most places blue shouldn’t be used even on Marian feasts, but especially as a substitute for Advent purple.

I posted the annual, inspired parody song by frequent participant T Ferguson about that…. you remember…

Sing this to the tune of O Come, O Come Emmanuel:

Sing along!  Lemme help you out.

O come, o come liturgical blue;
out with the old, and in with the new.
Let’s banish purple vestments from here,
the color blue is very HOT this year.


Gaudy, gaudy, gaudy chasubles,
in baby, navy, powder-puff and teal.

Since Advent is the Blessed Virgin’s time,
we’ll wear blue, though it’s canonic crime,
and in the third week, we’ll wear white.
Although it’s wrong, we’ll say that it’s alright.


Around the wreath we’ll place blue candlelight,
and in one corner, we will place one white.
We’ll drape blue over our communion rail,
and use blue burses with blue chalice veils.


Yah… we can and should have a little fun with this, for all the seriousness of the role of worship in our lives.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ADVENT, Lighter fare, Parody Songs, SESSIUNCULA and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Frank H says:

    Those blue vestments look great! Makes a great deal of sense for Marian celebrations. I attended a Lutheran funeral on Monday this week and noted the pastor was wearing a blue stole and there was matching blue trim elsewhere in the church.

  2. Seattle Slough says:

    Father, I enjoyed your singing immensely. Beautiful.

  3. irishgirl says:

    I enjoyed it too, Father Z-and was grinning and singing softly to myself all the way!

  4. Choirmaster says:

    Fr., what about a vestment that is white, i.e. the base fabric and main color is white, but the decorations or trim is blue?

    Could that count as a white vestment, albeit most appropriate for Marian feasts?

    Is the color blue as a Marian color a recent phenomenon? It seems that if it were, and that was a good reason for it to be a liturgical color, blue would have already been an approved liturgical color for Marian devotion.

  5. benyanke says:

    Choirmaster: I would think so.

    Everyone else:

    Yesterday, we had Bishop Morlino for mass, and we got to see his stunning Marian blue vestments. I think I heard that he got permission to use them, and I would also assume so otherwise, because he is an AWESOME-LY orthodox bishop (Fr. Z thinks so too).


  6. B Knotts says:

    At Mass yesterday (at a Dominican priory), the celebrant wore a white chasuble with blue trim. The concelebrant and another priest who came out to distribute Holy Communion wore white only.

  7. wanda says:

    This is great Father. You have a wonderful voice, I can actually tell what you are singing. Imagine, something I talk to Cantors about at my Church. I get lots of looks when I say anything about enunciating when singing, yes, it requires some effort.

    Anyway, Father, I don’t know how you didn’t crack up laughing while trying to record this. I would have. Thanks for the fun.

    P.S. I did like the particular version of the hymn that was playing in the background.

  8. Random Friar says:

    Choirmaster: The GIRM does not say much (see: http://www.christusrex.org/www1/mcitl/girmch6.html#D) My reading, and I think a fairly common sense one, is that the “base” color of any vestment should be apparent, without having to guess which color is “the” color. There are no prohibitions in other colors to be used with the base color, keeping in mind elegance.

    Since blue is so associated with the Blessed Mother (in spite of Notre Dame football insisting on green on random occasions for some reason), it makes sense to use it here as an accent. Think of a chasuble with St. Francis of Assisi. It may have some brown if he is depicted on the chasuble, or in some needlework design, like perhaps a Tau cross, although brown has never been any kind of liturgical color, as far as I know. It can have brown, but should not look like a “brown” chasuble. We Dominicans use black decoration with white vestments, often, because those are the colors most associated with us and our habits, not for any other liturgical reason. You would never pass it off as a “black” vestment. Same with blue and our Blessed Mother.

  9. ajwagner54 says:

    So, bishops must be able to wear blue if they want to? Because my bishop had a blue vestment on when he said Mass yesterday at the temporary cathedral in our diocese.

    I don’t think it is necessary to call him out by name, but suffice it to say that he’s one of the bishops who has been praised on this blog for his orthodoxy.

  10. Mark R says:

    Anglicans erroneously use blue in Advent…a shade or so lighter than navy. (It was part of a vestment selling scheme on the part of a liturgical haberdasher.) I don’t believe blue was even a color in Sarum times.

  11. Archicantor says:

    According to my limited reading on the subject (the main authority being the great Percy Dearmer in his “Parson’s Handbook” — and on vestments and liturgical colour he was really in his element), in various medieval English uses (including the widespread Sarum Use), blue vestments were the norm in Advent. They were never used for Marian feasts. As the new Ordinariates get off the ground, keep your eyes peeled for this distinctive little bit of the Anglican Patrimony, along with the Lenten Array, in which the altar and various ornaments are dressed or veiled in white sackcloth or unbleached linen with stark, stylized red motifs on them signifying what lies beneath. Violet seems not to have gained a firm foothold as a liturgical colour among Anglicans (or indeed among some Northern European Roman Catholics) until the twentieth century.

  12. catholicmidwest says:

    Fr Z,
    Does the injunction against blue vestments in the West have anything to do with the Reformation?

  13. Colin says:

    Dear Fr. Z,

    My pastor has been wearing a blue vestment, instead of a violet one. I believe that I read the other day on this website that it is a liturgical abuse? I don’t know what my pastor’s motivations are for wearing it. In his sermons and other pastoral practices, he is very orthodox and even has had to square off with liberal-progressive types in our Diocese. Is his choice of vestment color associated with the Charismatic Movement in any way? I believe he participates at times in Charismatic healing Masses, which are allowed in our Diocese. Is the GIRM specific on this or does our Bishop have the authority to authorize this blue vestment for Advent. Out of charity and respect for him and his other superb efforts and dedication to the parishioners, I don’t want to really approach him about it because he is very kind, works very hard, and needs all the support that he can get. Many don’t consider that these days and sometimes put priests on the defensive. I personally don’t think he would deliberately commit a liturgical abuse. Am I missing something?

  14. newtrad says:

    At our TLM yesterday, the priest wore a beautiful white vestment, trimmed in blue(light) and the entire underside was blue. It was just beautiful, was that an abuse? I hope not!

  15. jennywren says:

    Priceless, Father. thank you! I love the harmony on the word “teal.” Awesome!

  16. Dave N. says:

    First off, LOVED the song–that was great.

    Second, in our parish, Advent blue was banished several years ago when someone simply pointed out that the color is not in conformity with the GIRM, simple as that—and its violet replacement is stunning, so everyone is pleased. However, it seems that getting rid of “pink Sunday” may not be a win-able battle, but that’s another story.

    And agree with the comments above that if you have to guess what color it is, that’s a problem.

    And can’t think of any reason why a bishop could/should want to “override” this–which takes me full-circle back to the song :)

  17. MrsHall says:

    As I stated everywhere, our priest wears the purpliest purple and the rosiest rose during Advent. For Marian feasts he has beautiful white vestments with Our Lady of Lourdes embroidered on the front and the “Maria” symbol on the back. On Tuesday night I made the deMontfort consecration to Our Lady and when I was vested with the scapular it was lovely to see Fr.’s smiling face and the image of Our Lady in front of me. :)
    The blue vestments are lovely but the flagrant innovation/rebellion just stinks. I gave up inventing my own religion when I became a Catholic.

  18. Geremia says:

    My Latin mass priest, who sews his own vestments, wore a very beautiful white chasuble with a blue cross for the Immaculate Conception.

  19. Sacristymaiden says:

    Geremia: What a gem!

  20. irishgirl says:

    Mark R-at a local Episcopal church where I’ve attended an annual Lessons and Carols service at the start of Advent, blue is used instead of purple. It’s draped over the ambo, the pulpit where the readings are done, and in the Advent wreath candles. It’s kind of a light blue, rather nice-looking if I may say so.

  21. ipadre says:

    Bravo Z! Now I want to hear it done’ by a choir in three part harmony.

  22. MarieSiobhanGallagher says:

    Can we set that to some guitars? (Kidding!!) [Maybe we can set fire to guitars instead?]

    Fr. at mass I attended (NO) on Dec 8th wore his all blue vestments.

  23. Dave N. says:

    Again just a word of encouragement to those of you above experiencing a “Blue Advent.” (Sorry, Elvis.) Take the time to speak out in an encouraging, non-threatening way. You may be surprised how quickly things change.

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