Q: If there is a relic at the dedication of a church and altar, the deacons (or priests) who carry the relics at the procession wears red vestments, if the saint was a martyr. Do they have to change vestments for the Mass? Or will the priests concelebrate in red? I have seen the video of the dedication of St. Michael Abbey Church in California. The abbots wore red copes? What do you think about that? It seemed legitimate to me because they are in procession.
A: The only mention of red vesture for the deacons or priests who carry the relics is in the Introduction, and it gives no further help. In general, the liturgy does not call for changing of vestments, except on an occasion like Palm Sunday, for example, when the presider may change from cope to chasuble. However, there is no change in color, as there used to be for the Easter Vigil, for example.
I’m of the opinion that they continue to wear red vesture throughout the ceremony. This way they are properly vested when they carry the relics to the bishop to be placed under the altar later in the Mass.
I don’t know how to justify the decision of abbots wearing red copes. Ideally they should be wearing white chasubles for concelebration.