Priest Stuff

Priest Stuff
Lord, I never wanted to be separated from you.

The Stole

The stole is a liturgical vestment of various Christian denominations. It consists of a band of colored cloth, formerly usually of silk, about seven and a half to nine feet long and three to four inches wide, whose ends may be straight or may broaden out. The center of the stole is worn around the back of the neck and the two ends hang down parallel to each other in front, either attached to each other or hanging loose. The stole is almost always decorated in some way, usually with a cross or some other significant religious design. It is often decorated with contrasting galloons (ornamental trim) and fringe is usually applied to the ends of the stole following Numbers 15:38-39. A piece of white linen or lace may be stitched onto the back of the collar as a sweat guard which can be replaced more cheaply than buying a new stole.

Together with the cincture and the now mostly defunct maniple, the stole symbolizes the bonds and fetters with which Jesus was bound during his Passion; it is usually ornamented with a cross. Another version is that the stole denotes the duty to spread the Word of God.


It marks the recipients of Holy Orders. It is conferred at the ordination of a deacon, by which one becomes a member of the clergy after the suppression of the tonsure and minor orders after the Second Vatican Council.

A bishop or other priest wears the stole around his neck with the ends hanging down in front, while the deacon places it over his left shoulder and ties it cross-wise at his right side, similar to a sash.

Before the reform of the liturgy after the Second Vatican Council, priests who were not bishops crossed the stole over the breast, but only at Mass or at other functions at which a chasuble or cope was worn. It is now worn hanging straight down (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 340) at all times. On solemn occasions, the Pope wears, as part of his choir dress, a special state stole highly decorated and bearing his personal coat of arms.

For the celebration of the Mass, the principal celebrant as well as concelebrants wear the stole over the alb but under the chasuble. Likewise, the deacon wears the stole over the alb but under the dalmatic. The stole is also worn over the surplice or alb for the distribution and reception of Holy Communion.

The priest or deacon who presides in paraliturgical celebrations, such as the Stations of the Cross, usually wears the stole over the surplice (or alb), and always under the cope.

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