New red “Becket” vestments for Charleston Ordinariate

“Father Patrick Allen, Pastor of the CCCC at C, SC (Corpus Christi Catholic Community, Charleston, South Carolina), has written the following:

“… I wanted to mention that this Whitsunday was the debut for our new red vestments at Mass. Since our community’s inception, I’ve slowly been acquiring vestments, seeking to balance as best I can both beauty and affordability. I’m particularly pleased with this set and hope you all will be as well. I have a personal devotion to St Thomas Becket, the “troublesome priest” and Archbishop of Canterbury who was martyred in 1170. A set of his vestments survives at the Cathedral of Sens, France, and I commissioned a Florida firm, Klave Centesca (who have made most of our other vestments) to produce this set in the same style. I think they did a wonderful job, and did so at a very reasonable price – a worthy ornament to our worship. Klave Centesca have pictures and an explanation on their blog (see below). Each time I wear them, I will ask St. Thomas to intercede for our community and, indeed, for the return of Canterbury to the full communion of the Catholic Church.

Faithfully in Christ,
Fr Allen”

Becket Chasuble In Red, Lined in Royal Blue

Recently, we were commissioned to make this Becket-style Low mass set.

kc Saint Thomas Becket chasuble klave centesca

Becket-style vestments usually take their inspiration from one of the extant chasubles that belonged to the 12c English Martyr himself. The most famous one is that held in the Treasury at Sens Cathedral because of the particular pattern in which the orphrey is laid on the chasuble’s front and back. This, we took as our starting point.

thombecketchasuble a sens

As with every one of our projects, the design ends up being a collaborative process. Father Patrick Allen, for whom the set was made, decided it would be more useful to reduce some of the volume by curtailing the sides up to the wrists. The original was itself a slightly modified conical chasuble which is not recommendable for celebrating a low mass where it is the priest  who turns the pages of the missal, for example, so as to prevent knocking over the chalice and such. Functionality is paramount when celebrating the mass – especially when not attended by a small legion of altar servers, as in yesteryear, to hold back the sides of your chasuble out of the way and rearrange to reveal your hands whenever the extra fabric slides past them.

kc Saint Thomas Becket maniple and stole from Sens in red lined blue 3

With that in mind, a red exterior with a royal blue interior was the colour scheme chosen. The red is particularly inspired by Saint Thomas Becket himself, a martyr who will be celebrated henceforth with these vestments. The red also being appropriate for Whitsunday, Masses for the Holy Spirit and every other martyr in the calendar. The royal blue interior offers a nice contrast, and recalls the light which shines through the colored-glass windows.

Though it wasn’t designed to be reversible… inside-out it wouldn’t be a bad choice for an improvised Sarum-blue Advent Sunday! Or Monday… whatever appropriate.

kc Saint Thomas Becket inside our Advent Blue

But enough improvisation. Once again, here it is the chasuble, but this time with an appareled amice we featured here which would finish the look. An appareled alb would also be a definite possibility to round things off.

kc Saint Thomas Becket chasuble from Sens in red lined blue           kc Saint Thomas Becket chasuble back

Lastly, we’d like to leave you with an image of the maniple and stole.

kc Saint Thomas Becket maniple and stole from Sens in red lined blue

These too were inspired by the original ones at Sens, in the shape and pattern of the embroidery on the extremities. Because this is a low mass set, we kept the embroideries simple with only a few tiny metal beads for embellishment. Works nicely though, wouldn’t you say?

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to New red “Becket” vestments for Charleston Ordinariate

  1. Rev22:17 says:


    It’s great to see ordinariate communities having vestments made in the pattern of prior Anglican practice! The style and colour of liturgical vestments is a subtle, but nevertheless significant, element of Anglican heritage that seems not to surface with any frequency in discussions of what constitutes Anglican patrimony. This particular style of ornamentation would not be my first choice, but it most assuredly is within the norms of liturgical law.

    Catholic practice actually allows considerable latitude as to the styles of liturgical vestments, and it admits any shade of the prescribed liturgical color (so the Saram shade mentioned in the article, which most people probably would regard as blue, is indeed an acceptable shade of violet). Liturgical law also prescribes several exceptions to the prescribed liturgical color.

    >> Silver vestments are permitted whenever the prescribed liturgical color is white.

    >> Gold vestments are permitted whenever the prescribed liturgical color is white, red, or green.

    >> Vestments of better than standard quality may be worn on major feasts, regardless of color.

    >> There’s also a custom that white supplies for all colors if vestments of the prescribed color are not available.

    Also, the liturgical colors prescribed for the ordinariates appear to be those of the Anglican Communion where it deviates from present Roman Catholic practice. This seems to provide plenty of latitude for ordinariate parishes to follow Anglican customs with respect to vestments!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s