Deacon wearing a stole

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  Is there any reason for a Deacon to wear a stole when wearing a cassock and surplice?


A:  Do you have a specific circumstance in mind? That might make a difference.


Q:  Let’s say the Deacon is performing the duties of Emcee, stations of the cross or may be participating in a Eucharistic procession. 

I typically vest as a Deacon (Alb, stole and dalmatic) most of the time with the exception of Emcee or stations, but I have seen Deacons do wear the stole when distributing communion. I could assume you would wear the stole when only performing the duties of a Deacon and not when filling other roles. I just want to make sure I’m consistent. 


A:  The Ceremonial of Bishops says in 65, “A surplice may not be substituted for the alb when the chasuble or dalmatic is to be worn or when a stole is used instead of the chasuble or dalmatic. When a surplice is worn, it must be worn with the cassock.” 

If you are serving as an emcee, and if another deacon is serving as the deacon of the Mass, you may wear either an alb, or a cassock and surplice. I have seen deacon MCs add a stole over their cassock and surplice at communion time, but I have never found the provision for that, and CB 65 seems to guard against it. The emcee has one role, the deacon has another, and each remains consistent in that role.

If you are leading stations of the cross, you are leading a devotional service that is not directly covered by the liturgical books. However, Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass calls for a deacon presider to wear either an alb or a surplice over a cassock, and a stole. I think as a presider at stations, a deacon would follow similar advice, even though the ceremony does not include distribution of communion. 

When a deacon leads a Sunday Celebration in the Absence of a Priest, he wears “the vestments proper to his ministry, that is, the alb with stole and the dalmatic” (24). That paragraph cites Redemptionis Sacramentum 25, which calls the dalmatic the deacon’s proper vestment.

In a eucharistic procession, the presumption is that the deacons have vested for Mass, and they continue their service in the same vestments. Again, I’ve seen deacons dressing in cassock and surplice at Mass, as if “in choir,” but I find no provision for it. Here’s an earlier post: .

When in doubt, dress like a deacon.


Q:  As an addendum to your post, Ceremonial of Bishops §36 says “Within a celebration a master of ceremonies who is an ordained deacon may wear a dalmatic and the other diaconal vestments.”


A:  Thank you for that reference. A deacon emcee has a choice then: vest in cassock and surplice, or vest in alb, stole and dalmatic. Even CB 36 does not envision a deacon emcee adding a stole at communion time. To me, this presumes he chooses a vesture and wears it throughout.