Cope for devotionals

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Hi, Father! Thank you for all you do!

In my parish, we are discussing the use of the cope for devotionals, such as the Stations of the Cross. Are deacons, priests, and bishops permitted to wear a violet/red cope during such devotions? The cope is a liturgical vestment so it appears that it would not be appropriate since Stations and other devotionals are not lituries. 

Also, may a deacon wear a cope at benediction/weddings/baptisms like a priest or do they need to wear a dalmatic? Thank you!


A: With regard to devotions such as Stations, I know of no instructions regarding vestments, but I see no problem with a priest or deacon wearing alb and stole, or adding a cope or, in the case of the deacon, a dalmatic. I mean, we often light candles during Stations. We often carry a cross. Servers often vest—even though it’s not technically “liturgy”. If the ceremony takes place inside a church and is led by an ordained minister, I see no problem with them vesting for it, and I think it lends more solemnity if they do.

The rules for a deacon’s vesture changes per ceremony. He may wear a cope during exposition and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. He may wear the dalmatic for a wedding outside Mass. He may wear a dalmatic at morning and evening prayer. Check each liturgical book for guidance on the deacon’s vesture.