The Use of Color in the Catholic Liturgical Year

The sense of sight, including color, plays an important role in Catholic worship. The colors of a Catholic priest’s vestments help the faithful know that certain celebrations are at hand.

  • Green: The color of vestments used during ordinary time.(Ordinary time is the rest of the year that’s not the Christmas or Easter season.)
  • Purple or Violet: Used during Advent and Lent.
  • White: Most appropriate for Christmas, Easter, Funerals, Weddings, and Feasts of the Lord, Mary, and the Apostles.
  • Red: For on feasts of the Passion of Jesus and for the Holy Spirit, representing red tongues of fire, in addition to being worn for the feasts of martyred saints, who shed their red blood for Christ.
  • Rose: On the Third Sunday of Advent and the Fourth Sunday of Lent, the color rose may be worn as a sign of anticipated joy.

Chalice, Patten and  Ciborium

The most central of all sacred vessels is the Chalice and Patten every time Mass if offered. The Patten is the plate which holds the sacred host and the Chalice is the cup which holds the wine to be consecrated. Another vessel which appears to be a Chalice with a cover is a Ciborium. A Ciborium holds the small hosts which are used for distribution of Holy Communion to the faithful.

Thurible  (Censer) & Boat

Metal vessel use to burn incense. Incense is used during Funerals and Feasts in the Catholic Church. The use of incense is a tradition that dates back almost two thousand years. It is a symbol of our prayers rising up to God like the smoke of the incense.

Cruet Set

Cruet sets are used at Mass to hold the wine and water which get consecrated, as well as the Lavabo Bowl used in the purification of the Priest’s fingers.


Many churches still embrace the tradition of ringing bells at the most profound part of the Mass, namely during the consecration.


Pyxes are used by Priests, Deacons and Eucharist Ministers to distribute Holy Communion to the sick and /or disabled at hospitals, nursing homes, private residences, etc.