10 Education Corner

About Vestments

Before the worship begins, the choir, servers, chalice assistants and clergy all put on special clothing. The Eucharistic vestments have developed over the centuries from ordinary garments of the ancient Roman world. As fashions changed, the Church retained the older styles of garments and reserved them for particular functions in worship.

Choristers/Servers wear:
Cassock — An ankle-length garment (in the Cathedral, red/purple/black), the cassock is the basic garment of those who minister in the church. It is not itself a vestment, but vestments are worn over it.
Cotta — A waist-length white vestment with large sleeves and usually a yoke shaped neck. The name comes from the Latin for “coat.”

Chalice Assistants and Eucharistic Ministers wear:
Cassock-Alb — An ankle-length white garment with narrow sleeves, the cassock-alb is the basic undergarment of vestments. The traditional vesting prayer associates it with the whiteness of purity. The word alb comes from a Latin word meaning white thing.
Cincture — The cord or band used as a belt to gird the alb. The cincture represents the virtue of chastity, and recalls the cords that tied Jesus’ hands at his trial.

Clergy wear a cassock-alb and Eucharistic vestments:
Stole — The scarf-like vestment bears the colour of the season or day, which is blue in Advent; white during Christmas and Easter; green during Epiphany and Pentecost. Worn over both shoulders by bishops and priests and over the left shoulder by deacons, the stole is the distinctive sign of the authority granted in ordination and is worn for all sacramental functions and blessings.
Chasuble — The outer vestment put on over the others, originally a poncho-like garment, now the primary sign of priestly ordination. Representing the yoke of Christ, it is worn only for the Eucharist, and at the Cathedral celebrant is usually so garbed after the Offertory.

About Worship Posture and Gestures:

Worshiping God with our bodies as well as our minds and emotions, the congregation changes posture according to the content of the worship. “Kneel for prayer, stand for praise, sit for instruction” is one Anglican adage, but there is considerable variation

across the Diocese of Barbados and among worshipers at St. Michael’s. Consideration is, however, given to the condition of the worshippers and one should adopt a posture for which one is able to comfortably assume.

Many people use personal gestures of devotion, such as bowing, genuflecting, and making the sign of the cross. Some notes on these gestures follow, but remember that you are welcome to use those gestures that aid your worship, and free to omit those that do not.

Bowing may be a low reverence from the waist to recognise God’s presence when passing an altar or at the mention of the Incarnation in the Nicene Creed. Bowing may at other times be a simple inclination of one’s head, as is customarily done when the Cross passes by one during a procession, when the Holy Trinity is praised at the end of a psalm or hymn, when the Gospel is announced and concluded, at the opening words of the Sanctus, and in general whenever the holy Name of Jesus is said or heard.

The Sign of the Cross is made with the right hand (for right-handers), from forehead to chest, then from left shoulder to right. This sign symbolizes God’s blessings on us through Christ’s self-giving on the cross, and it expresses our trust in God and the hope that we receive from our baptism, wherein we were born again in Christ and made one with him in his resurrection. The sign of the cross is both a reminder and renewal of our baptism. It is often made at the Opening Acclamation, at the mention of baptism in the Creed, at the Absolution, at the time of receiving Communion, and at the Blessing.

Genuflection is kneeling briefly on the right knee and returning upright. It is appropriate to genuflect in respect and honour of our Lord when approaching or passing an altar where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved, the Sacrament Altar at St. Michael’s. People often genuflect as they leave their pew to go to communion and as they return.

Again, remember that these gestures are entirely optional. All are welcome to use whatever gestures aid their worship and free to omit any that do not.


Reverence during worship

Before Worship

O Almighty God, who pour out on all who desire it the spirit of grace and of supplication: Deliver us, when we draw near to you, from coldness of heart and
wanderings of mind, that with steadfast thoughts and kindled affections we may worship you in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Before Receiving Communion

Be present, be present, O Jesus, our great High Priest, as you were present with your disciples, and be known to us in the breaking of bread; who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen

After Receiving Communion

O Lord Jesus Christ, who in a wonderful Sacrament has left unto us a memorial of your passion: Grant us, we beseech you, so to venerate the sacred mysteries of
your Body and Blood, that we may ever perceive within ourselves the fruit of your redemption; who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen

After Worship

Grant, we beseech you, Almighty God, that the words which we have heard this day with our outward ears, may, through your grace, be so grafted inwardly in our hearts, that they may bring forth in us the fruit of good living, to the honour and praise of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.