Pugin Inspired Vestments by Watts & Co in Canada

Ordinations offer cathedrals and dioceses a rare opportunity to showcase a plethora of liturgical arts. It was impressive to see this semi-Gothic Pugin-inspired chasuble at a recent ordination in Vancouver, Canada. Made in England and designed with great care by Watts & Co. of London, the chasuble is made of beautiful white Alton fabric. The work shines with a raiment of beauty while reflecting 14th and 15th century influences. It is based on a design by Augustus Pugin for St. Augustine's Abbey, Ramsgate, complimented by a beautiful re-weaving of an original orphrey stripe braid by the same artist. The vestment is lined in cotton sateen.

Pugin (1812-1852) was an English artist and architect who in his short life helped to pioneer the immensely influential Gothic Revival style of liturgical art and architecture that became so recognizable in much of the Catholic world of the nineteenth and early twentieth century.  Before his death at age 40 at Ramsgate, Pugin's work culminated in the creation of great churches and vestments created that still inspire us today in the same Neo-Gothic style.

The rite of ordination imparts knowledge with dignity of the priestly character which God has endowed the ordinandi.  This is shown especially through the symbolism of various visual aids in the rite such as the chasuble, instructing us in beauty while communicating something of the glory of God and the priesthood.  It is beautiful to see these little traditions making a slow comeback, such as the ordinandi carrying their vestments and baptismal candle in procession, or the use of the pontifical dalmatic - a reminder that the ordaining prelate shares in the fullness of Holy Orders, as well as the maniturgium, the linen cloth used to wrap the hands of a newly ordained priest after having been anointed.  How sweet is the liturgical life of the Church, ever rich with symbolism and the wisdom of the centuries.

Photos: Holy Rosary Cathedral

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