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Q & A with Father Anthony

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Can I wear a clerical shirt while in the seminary?

Todd asks:

Dear Fr Anthony,

I am entering seminary this September and have been brought several clerical shirts by people within my parish. I don't believe it's the custom where I'm going to study. What are the Church's guidelines on clerical dress? Would it be wrong to dress in clerics whilst outside the seminary?


Dear Todd,

I'm really delighted to hear you are entering the seminary. I think we have corresponded a little in the past, so I hope our conversations in some way have helped you in your decision.

As regards the use of clerics outside the seminary, you will have to ask your bishop or the vocations director for your diocese what the custom is where you are from. I think wearing some sign of the choice you have made is very good .. for the seminarian in the first place because it really helps to wear that reminder, and also for others when they see the witness of your choice, it gives them hope and joy.

I know that in some places the seminarians when they are at home are expected to wear clerics on Sundays and help our at their parishes. I find that a good idea and maybe you might want to volunteer to do so. Many seminaries distinguish between college seminarians and theologians, having no particular dress code for the college students (other places ask them to wear white shirt and black tie), and reserve the use of the clerical shirt for theology students. You will have to check what the preference of your bishop is, and stick to that.

God bless.

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