From a reader…
I grew up in the 1950’s. All the illustrated “Children’s Missals” had photos showing altar servers wearing red cassocks and white surplices.
I never saw red cassocks in person, however. Now, they seem to be making a comeback. At our parish, the two altar servers wear black cassocks and white surplices. There is also a “master server” (usually an adult) who wears a red cassock and white surplice.
When there are is a seminarian in the role of master server, he wears a black cassock with collar and a white surplice. I can’t find any instruction on the color of cassocks for mass (other than the obvious distinctions between priest, monsignor, bishop, cardinal, and pope. Do you know of any instructions or official recommendations concerning the color of cassock to be worn by other than the celebrant at mass?
First, let it be said that all service at the altar in our Catholic Churches should exclusively MALE.
There is no specified color of cassocks for servers. However, let’s not forget that this was originally a clerical service in large degree. Hence, the use of the black cassock is always a good thing. That said, it may be of interest that the boys who serve in the Basilica of St. Peter in Roman, from the minor seminary school, wear the same color cassocks as monsignors, paonazza, that violet color. They do so from a long held privilege. Also, Masters of Ceremonies for the Masses of bishops and cardinals in the Usus Antiquior customarily wear the paonazza cassock, but without red trim, etc.
Local custom will play a role, as it only fitting. The Institute of Christ the King has their servers wear a shade of blue. In some places, red is used. No problem. In other places, seniority of service might indicated by different colors. It’s all for the good. However, it should be consistent and understood where these things are put into place.