ASK FATHER: Priest as deacon… how does he wear the stole?

From a reader…


When a priest vests as a deacon at High Mass, does he wear the stole as a deacon would under the dalmatic? Or as a priest?

I happened to notice a priest wearing it as a deacon, and, despite being vested in the dalmatic, it struck me as odd.

I assume that you are talking about the Extraordinary Form, because you won’t see priests as deacons in the Ordinary Form. Also I assume you are talking about a Solemn Mass. Sometimes “High Mass” is used interchangeably with “Sung Mass”. Solemn Masses have deacon and subdeacon.

When a priest takes the role of deacon in the Extraordinary Form, he vests as a deacon and does those things the deacon would do as a deacon does them. Father is still a deacon, though he is also a priest. When Father vests as a subdeacon, he does not wear a stole at all. Nor would a deacon who takes the part of subdeacon.

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  1. Titus says:

    A follow-up: does a priest who serves as a subdeacon at a Solemn Mass put on a stole before he receives Holy Communion, as he would if he were assisting in choir?

  2. Titus, he would not put on a stole as he is already paratus.

  3. jbazchicago says:

    A very minor point,
    Many monastic communities (entirely Novus Ordo) do have priests vest and act as deacon and subdeacon for Novus Ordo Liturgies. It’s slowly becoming “a thing” albeit…slowwwwly. I know it’s against current liturgical law. But there it is….

    [Mutual enrichment… gravitational pull… in the right direction.]

  4. Reginald Pole says:

    [Mutual enrichment… gravitational pull… in the right direction.]

    It seems that gravitational pull can work both ways. Now if there is one good thing the Novus Ordo has taught us it is to participate. Last night at our new FSSP parish as the choir was doing all the work, I noticed a woman in the congregation across the aisle from me singing the responses under her breath. So I joined in too, softly at first. Then more in the congregation began joining in. By the start of the Preface about half of the people were singing. And so it continued – Sanctus, Agnus Dei and then, glory of glories, most of the church singing the Pange Lingua. Thank you Jesus for Papa Ratzinger and the FSSP.

  5. Dick Verbo says:

    Dear Reginald Pole:
    I am an old person, and, before Vatican II, we always sang along with the choir for sung Masses. In Catholic school, the nuns made sure we sang. Now, in my diocesan EF parish, the congregation sings along with the choir, as long as it is Gregorian chant, rather than polyphony. Our hymnals contain the music for several of the most commonly sung Masses, de Angelis, Orbis Factor, etc., for the majority who are not old enough to remember them.

  6. John Nolan says:

    The Oratories in England have always used priests as deacon and ‘subdeacon’ in the Novus Ordo Solemn Mass. On Palm Sunday at the Oxford Oratory the deacons of the Passion were also priests and wore the diaconal stole without the dalmatic.

    No doubt Bugnini would have disapproved, but he’s now participating in the heavenly liturgy. Let’s hope that by the time we join him he won’t have tinkered with it too much.

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