What are the official colors of the Catholic Liturgy and what do they signify?

By Paul Dion, STL

As you all know, we Catholics have a lot to look forward to every Sunday. We know that when we get to church we will meet our friends and companions in Christ; we will hear a new hymn or two (we hope), we will hear different stories from the Bible than we heard the last Sunday and lately, we have seen a lot of colors flash before our eyes during the ceremonies.

This coming Sunday is the feast of Pentecost. This is the Sunday when we celebrate the filling of our heart with the Holy Spirit, the Advocate that Jesus promised us. This is the last Sunday when our altar decorations and priest vestments will have the last splash of a color other than green for a while.

The colors of Catholic Liturgy are symbols of our faith. They teach us a lesson about the mystery that we are celebrating during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

The question then is this:

"Do you know What the official liturgical colors of the Catholic Liturgy are and what do they signify?"
Let us know what you think. Post your answers below. They don't have to be complete asnwers. Just give us the ones you know.


  1. Anonymous9:16 AM

    I found it a contridiction in terms for a woman from 'Phillie' to refer to herself as a 'former Cathilic', but now a Christian. I would say rather that she left the Catholic Church to participate in a less than holy, watered down version of Christianity, and no longer enjoys the fullness of grace. Sad.
    CA. Catholic and Proud of it.

  2. ParishWorld Theology Editor1:18 PM

    By Paul Dion, STL Theology Editor

    The Catholic Church has a rainbow of colors that are used to make its prayers more meaningful. They generally follow the seasons of the Church Year, called the Liturgical Year or the Liturgical Calendar. hese colors are used to "set the mood" of the fundamental meaning of the mystery in the life of Christ that is being commemorated.

    The year starts with the season of Advent, the four weeks imediately before the Nativity of Christ. The color for this season is Royal Purple. It expresses joyful waiting and hopeful anticipation. On the third Sunday of this season, Rose is the color of the celebration to express the joy that the waiting is almost over.

    The Christmas Season is colored in White and Gold to express purity, joy and glory. White is also used to celebrate the feasts of Mary.

    The season of Lent, Easter and Pentecost Lent is marked by Purple to signify penance. Easter is celebrated in White and Gold to signify kingship, new life, honor and praise. Pentecost is celebrated in Red to signify the light and the heat of the fire of love and strrength brought to us by the Holy Spirit.

    The great season of Lent, Easter and Pentecost is followed by the Ordinary time. This is marked by the color Green which signifies life, hope and trust.

    Special times when Red is worn are feasts of martyrs, Good Friday and Palm Sunday to signify blood, the sustainer of life, love and courage.

    Funerals are usually celebrated in white to signify the light of the resurrection and the sincere hope that we have of attaining the glory of heaven in the direct presence of God Himself.

    For the next 30 plus weeks, we will be praying during the season of Ordinary Time when we will be seeing Green the color of life, hope and trust.