What a humbling honor to be entrusted with the FIRST MASS vestments for a newly ordained priest...
Unlike any bride or groom I’ve known preparing wedding garments, he is serene about the entire process. He takes time to teach the faith, to model his vocation, to inspire holiness in others.
On his ordination day, the transformation of this man into a priest of Jesus Christ is a truly mystical experience. His newly imbued and inexplicable beauty and grace is something we cannot understand – yet it is tangible and deeply moving. Only the persistent and loving call from Our Lord could convince a man to spend years of painstaking discernment and formation -- to ultimately sacrifice wealth, the taking of an earthly bride, children of his own, and…freedom!
It is, therefore, an understatement to say that we *must* pray for the priesthood – especially the young generation of priests. Honor them, help and encourage them as past generations cherished and defended their pastors. Let them govern, let them preach, and let them lead faithful souls to the foot of Calvary. Let their sacrifice be the model which inspires us to become saints. Let our fervor be their inspiration and comfort for the difficult work ahead. God bless the priesthood. God save His holy Church.
Here are photos of First Mass vestments we had the great honor to make for 2014 ordinations. See what love was poured into the symbolism and many details of each completely personalized vestment by the new priest who commissioned it.
With so many Ordination projects in the studio this year, we were simply surrounded by beauty! Here are four burses...
...and two of the sets they belong to...
H A P P Y E A S T E R ! He is risen!
St. Thomas à Becket
O Felix Culpa
"O truly necessary sin of Adam,
destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!
O happy fault that merited such and so great a Redeemer!"
As we mark the Lenten days, with what longing will we hear these words sung at the Easter Vigil in the most glorious "Exsultet" (the Easter Proclamation).
These words emblazon the chasuble of a new Lenten Solemn High Mass Set. The symbolism in the Tau of the chasuble is read from bottom to top, and then side to side.
At the bottom, we see the fall of man -- the skull. The poppies (right) signify sleep, death extravagance, indifference. The willow (left) signifies hope; its' branches flourish no matter how severely they're cut, symbolic of the gospel as it continues to flourish no matter how wide its' distribution.
Next, is our redemption through Christ -- the crucifixion. Juxtaposed against the secular crown of the Roman Emperor, we see the cruel parody and mockery of Our Lord's crown of thorns. Thorns -- God's punishment for the sin of Adam and Eve, referred to in Genesis. The laurel wreath (right) signifies the victor's crown as well as eternity, since the laurel branch doesn't wilt.
Finally, our Lord's resurrection from the grave; victory over sin and death -- the butterfly breaks from its' cocoon. The thistles (left) recall man's fall and earthly sorrow for sin. The evergreen and clinging nature of ivy (right) represent eternal life, undying affection and fidelity.
At top, the Latin text is embraced by the passionflower and the victor's laurels. Thank you Fr. Justin Braun of Tyler, TX for such an edifying commission whose visual symbolism provide a Lenten journey.
As it was customary for gemstones to be incorporated into this mass of tendrils, we included both pearls and garnets. The brocade is Winchester (a very rich red-brown purple). I hope to add photos of its use in the Mass later so you can see the graceful folds of this ancient chasuble design.
A single antique sparks
Mass of Thanksgiving Set for newly ordained priest in North Carolina
The priest who commissioned this Mass of Thanksgiving set recently completed his studies in Rome and was ordained to the holy priesthood Saturday, June 22 in Charlotte, NC. His First Mass was offered in the Extraordinary Form.
While the floral design of passion flowers and grape leaves was inspired by a time-worn antique, this is no antique. Every stitch is brand new, hand embroidery. The antique vestment's liturgical symbols were changed to suit the devotions of the priest to create something truly personal.
On the chasuble front, a pair of stags bow below the Sacred Heart -- Psalms 42:1 "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God."
On the back, the Lamb is encircled by a crown of thorns, standing on the Book of Seven Seals, adorned of leather and red garnet gemstones.
See photos of Fr. Jason Christian's First Mass here at New Liturgical Movement.
“… it is indispensably necessary for the ecclesiastical artists, not only to understand the true forms and symbolical significations of the sacred vestments and other adornments of the church, but also how to apply the various decorations in a consistent manner to the edification of the faithful, and as lively illustrations of the Sacred Mysteries.”
-- Augustus Welby Pugin
from Glossary of Ecclesiastical Ornament and Costume, 1868
All Dominican Souls Solemn High Requiem Mass
Fr. Boniface Willard, O.P. blesses a 14 piece Solemn High Requiem Mass Set prior to it's first use on the altar, November 8, 2012 at Blessed Sacrament Church in Seattle, WA.
The set is made of a lovely black and silver metal brocade. The black velvet orphreys of the gothic style chasuble, cope, burse, humeral and chalice veil are adorned with hand embroidered passionflowers in silver metal and bullion threads. The dalmatic dimensions were "lifted" from an existing antique in the diocese. Solemn sets are usually 12-13 pieces in size. The fourteenth piece here is the "mappa" which rests across the laps of the celebrant and deacons when seated during particular parts of the Mass.
Click the photos below to see this beautiful Dominican Parish, Blessed Sacrament, as well as a few details of their new set.
Read also on New Liturgical Movement about the vestments.
A MOCKUP - We create new vestments from clients' antique photos.
We recreate the treasures of the past...
Combining the highest quality materials and workmanship with careful research of beautiful surviving antique vestments, we are able to create sets like the treasures that once graced our Holy Catholic altars.
The real metal red brocade chasuble you see here is part of a new Solemn High Mass set. The parish who commissioned this set found an intact 12-piece antique set they loved, but simply could not afford the price to purchase.
We were able to replicate the design of that longed-for antique set for a fraction of the cost of the original pieces. Of course, we retained the high quality materials found in the original set. We used real metal brocade, handloomed silk, gold bullion fringe and even antique embroideries.
The result was even more brilliant than the years-old set and more durable. But more importantly, it is ready for years of worship at the Holy altar.
Our Vestments are made of...
· silk damasks
· real metal-woven fabrics and trims
· genuine freshwater pearls, garnets, and gemstones as appropriate
· brocades and rich velvets
· hand-made gold bullion embroideries and fringes
· 100% linen and 100% hand-loomed silks for linings
· unbleached muslin and canvas for interfacings
We take care to lift the dimensions directly from surviving pieces whenever possible, to retain the integrity of the traditional styles as needed. We also insure that Church symbolism is designed into every piece just as the vestments of old -- retaining the age-old traditions and meanings that used to be handed down among vestment makers.