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Confirmation: liturgical colour

02 May 2014


Your answers

What is the correct liturgical colour for a confirmation in the parish eucharist? Some say white, others red, others the colour of the season. At one confirmation in Lent, the altar was in purple, the vicar wore a white stole, and the bishop wore a red chasuble.

Unless there were exceptional circumstances (which, of course, there may have been), Common Worship: Christian Initiation does not encourage confirmation within the penitential season of Lent (or the preparatory season of Advent), but rather at Easter, in line with ancient practice, or at Epiphany/theBaptism of Christ, or on All Saints' Day.

Second, the Rules to Order the Christian Year in Common Worship indicate that white "is suitable for Baptism, Confirmation and Ordination, though red may be preferred", and notes under "red" that it "is appropriate for any services which focus on the gift of the Holy Spirit, and is therefore suitable for Baptism, Confirmation and Ordination".

Assuming, therefore, that at the eucharist in question the confirmation was the main focus (e.g. of the readings), then the short answer is "white or red". All should, of course, be in the same colour. If the bishop chose red, that should have been the choice of all.

Peter Elliott's Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite (Ignatius Press, 1995) says that confirmation vestments "are usually red but may be white".

(The Revd Dr) Ross Hutchison SCP
London NW6


It is for the confirming bishop to determine the liturgical colour for confirmations, together with any other details to do with the service. If there is any doubt, the incumbent should check with the bishop.

A good rule of thumb would normally be to use red in order to signify the Holy Spirit, except during Eastertide (much the most appropriate time of year for a confirmation), or during the Christmas or Epiphany seasons. On such occasions, white should be used instead. But on no account should confirmations take place during Lent.

(The Revd) John Paul Hoskins
(Chaplain to the Bishop)

Your questions

We have a hard-working and cheerful team of priests and Readers. Over the past year or so, an elderly worshipper continually complains that our sermons are too long: he would like no more than five minutes, or none at all. No one else has complained about our usual 15 minutes. Most people listen well to and appreciate a variety of preachers. How should we answer this complaint politely, but presenting the value of a thoughtful sermon?

B. Mack.


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