III. Vestments Required for Pontifical Mass.
Attired in his choir habit, the bishop reads the Psalms of Preparation, during which the Master of Ceremonies invests the bishop with the special footgear (items 1, 2). The bishop then recites several prayers that recount the symbolism of the vestments and has his hands washed. After this the Deacon, Subdeacon and Assistant Priest solemnly vest him with the rest of the items. Here is what is required:
1. Buskins. (Loose-fitting leggings in the liturgical color of the day that the Master of Ceremonies puts on the bishop’s legs and then ties.)
2. Sandals. (Special fabric shoes, also in the color of the day, that the Master of Ceremonies puts on over the bishop’s buskins.)
6. Pectoral cross on a green and gold cord. (Strength against enemies; the victories of the Cross and the martyrs.)
7. Tunic. (Made of light silk, the color of the day. This is the garment of a subdeacon, symbolizing joy.)
8. Dalmatic. (Also of light silk, and slightly shorter than the tunic. This is the garment of a deacon, symbolizing salvation and justice.)
9. Gloves. (Color of the day, embroidered with crosses. Acceptance of the Sacrifice)
11. Miter. (Two types are used at the same Mass: a precious miter with jewels and gold embroidery that is worn in procession and for shorter periods of time during Mass, and a golden miter that is worn when the bishop sits for longer periods of time. Helmet of salvation against the snares of the enemy.)
12. Pontifical ring. (Sevenfold gift of the Holy Ghost.)
14. Maniple. (Put on in the sanctuary at the prayer Indulgentiam.)
The symbolism of some items is self-evident, but three in particular merit an additional comment:
(a) Buskins and Sandals. The bishop’s feet are vested, according to the medieval liturgist Durandus, as an allusion to the verse that the liturgy applies to the Apostles themselves: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Gospel of peace.” (Nabuco, Ius Pont., 179)
(b) Tunic and Dalmatic. Bishops at Pontifical Mass must wear the vestments of a subdeacon and deacon because in bishops, said the medieval liturgist Durandus, “the degrees of all the Major Orders are most eminently present.” (Nabuco, Ius Pont., 182)
(c) Gloves. The vesting prayer for the gloves contains an Old Testament allusion: Jacob covering his hands when he presented his offering to his father to obtain a blessing; the bishop prays that through his sacrifice he may likewise receive a blessing, that of divine grace.
Image Source: Archbishop John Timothy McNicholas