The rules of the Catholic Church determines the proper colors and vestments worn by Catholic priests during a funeral Mass. The Priest can choose his vestments provided they go in line with these rules.
The colors that are allowed for funerals include white, black and purple. The particular robes are worn and the accompanying vestments also vary, with different vestments worn if there is a Eucharist than for non-Eucharistic funerals.
The Colors White, black and purple are the widely accepted colors that are worn for a funeral mass. White is the most common color worn for Western funerals. According to the Catholic Church, each color has a meaning.
White symbolizes of hope, innocence, and purity. Even when black was the predominant color, white was often worn at funerals of young children. White focuses on the deceased’s ascension to Heaven.
Black is a symbol of mourning and death. Its focus is on the loss felt by the mourners and the loss of life.
Purple symbolizes penance and reflection. It is a sorrowful color.
The white robe was worn by priests during funeral Masses, and for most of the other liturgical roles, it is called an alb. The white color signifies the purity of the priest who dons the vestment.
Albs are made of linen, floor-length with tapered sleeves. What can be used as an alternative to the alb is the cassock.
Brief Definition of a Cassock
Cassocks can be black or purple. It is also floor-length regalia with long sleeves, though the cut of the robe can vary. Usually, a cassock has 33 buttons down the front.
During the funeral Mass, if the Eucharist is to be given the priest often wears the alb, along with a chasuble and stole, or just the stole without the chasuble. The stole and chasuble will be in accordance with the chosen liturgical colors.
If the Eucharist wouldn’t be given, the priest may wear the cassock along with a surplice. A cope may be worn with the alb for a non-Eucharist service as well. A cope may also be worn during the service and exchanged for Eucharistic vestments while the Eucharist is given in a Eucharist funeral.
A Brief Definition of a Surplice
The surplice is a white knee-length, shirt-like vestment with long bell-shaped sleeves that is worn over the cassock.
A Brief Definition of a Cope
The cope is a mantle similar to the chasuble. It is also worn in the chosen liturgical color. A cope may also be worn during the service. It can also be exchanged for Eucharistic vestments while the Eucharist is given in a Eucharist funeral.
A Brief Definition of a Chasuble
A chasuble is an overlying vestment of varying lengths. The chasuble covers the shoulders and drapes down to cover the front and back of the alb.
A Brief Definition of a Stole
The stole is a long scarf that goes around the back of the neck with the ends hanging down the front of the robe.