Q: I have questions regarding the use of the choir dress:
I have seen bishops present at a priests Mass but they do not concelebrate. What is the reason why a bishop does not concelebrate with a priest? I understand that in celebrations such as this, he does not wear a chasuble but wears his choir dress. Should he be wearing a stole over it?
I’ve seen in rubrics that priests could be present also in choir dress at a liturgical celebration. What are the occasions/liturgical celebrations that a priest could be vested in choir? Why is it more proper to wear the choir dress in those occasions rather than vested as concelebrants?
Looking forward to your enlightening answers.
A: According to the Ceremonial of Bishops, if a bishop is preset for a Mass where the celebrant—for good reason—is a priest, the bishop may “preside” over the liturgy of the word and bless the people at the end, in which case he wears a stole and cope. If he does not preside and does not celebrate, then “he should participate in the Mass wearing mozzetta and rochet, and at some suitable place other than the bishop’s chair (cathedra)” (186). He does not wear the stole in that case.
With regard to priests, GIRM 114 says, “it is preferable that Priests who are present at a celebration of the Eucharist, unless excused for a just reason, should usually exercise the function proper to their Order and hence take part as concelebrants, wearing sacred vestments. Otherwise, they wear their proper choir dress or a surplice over a cassock.” One such occasion would be a day when a priest has already celebrated other Masses.