QUAERITUR: Gift for a priest: reversible stole

From a reader:

My friend’s ordination is coming up in a number of months, and I’d like to get him something meaningful and useful. I’m a little short on money, so I have to start planning and saving now.

He’s traditionally-minded (fully fluent in Latin too) and believes in the Sacrament of Confession. He speaks of spending a lot of time hearing confessions once he’s ordained, so I figured a beautiful confessional stole would be a good idea. (Personally, I think those long, wide modern purple stoles to be pretty hideous and they remind me of feel-good reconciliation rooms with stuffed lambs, etc which really isn’t my friend’s style.)

I found some really nice hand-made silk and gold embroidered reversible stoles (purple and white) made by some sisters some place that are within my price range, but I’m just wondering how practical the white side is. I know my confessor’s stole is reversible, but I only see him wearing the purple side. What’s the white side used for?

I am glad that this one you are talking about intends to hear confessions.

The reversible stole you are talking about is really not so much for the confessional as it is for rites which require a change of stole.  The perfect example of this is the older form of baptism, using the older Rituale Romanum.

In the traditional form of baptism of children, for example, after the priest anoints with the Oil of Catechumens and as the rite moves from outside the baptistry to the inside, he changes his stole from purple to white.

If this priest is traditionally-minded, I think that would be a nice gift.

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  1. Random Friar says:

    There is still an OF reason to use these two colors as well: the purple is handy for spontaneous or “drop-in” confessions, and the white serves well for blessings, especially when one is hurried. (General Instruction for Book of Blessings, 37: “Vestments are to be either white or of a color corresponding to the liturgical season or feast.”). Thus, I keep one handy.

  2. Legisperitus says:

    I love that change from purple to white! Two children baptized in the EF, with copes yet! :D

  3. irishgirl says:

    That’s very interesting! I never heard it described that way!
    ‘Feel-good reconciliation rooms with stuffed lambs’-hmmmm.
    I’ve been in my share of ‘rec rooms’ (as I humorously like to call them), but I’ve never seen a stuffed lamb in any of them!

  4. Fr. Thomas says:

    I am an Ordinary Form priest and I use a purple/white reversible stole. I generally use the purple for hearing confessions and the white side for Baptisms and when I have been asked to preach but did not Concelebrate.

  5. APX says:

    ‘Feel-good reconciliation rooms with stuffed lambs’-hmmmm.
    The only “stuffed lambs” I like are when it’s one of it’s legs that’s been rotating on the BBQ Does wonder to make one feel good.

    I’ve been in my share of ‘rec rooms’ (as I humorously like to call them), but I’ve never seen a stuffed lamb in any of them!
    I’ve been to a parish here where there’s a stuffed lamb kept up in the sanctuary, but never in a reconciliation room.

    I would imagine that the white side could also be used for other NO occasions where white is traditionally worn outside of the Mass (ie: Marriage ceremonies, internment-particularly of infants, etc.)

  6. Joe in Canada says:

    As a Priest I would find this eminently practical. It is the sort of thing a priest can take with him without involving suitcases or special carrying bags.

  7. James Joseph says:

    Mmmmm…. stuffed lamb in the confessional.

    Sounds delicious but shouldn’t confess with your mouth full.

  8. Centristian says:

    Not that it couldn’t be useful under any circumstances, but I’m not sure most parish priests would prefer it. The purple confessional stole is what it is and would have no need for a white side, and in cases wherein a white stole would be employed (Baptism, weddings outside of Mass, &c), something more elaborate than the reverse side of a purple stole would be preferred.

    Great for missionary priests, though, who travel alot and who haven’t got a fat parish and sacristy filled with all the different overlay stoles one could ever want. A marriage in village X; confessions in village Y.

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