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Our readers asked:

What is an amice?

Julianne Wallace Answers:

The amice is a piece of rectangular cloth with two thin-longer strands on either side (to be honest- it kind of looks like an apron!). The amice used to be a mandatory liturgical vestment before the Second Vatican Council. Priests would put the amice on over their shoulders. The alb would then go over the amice. Now, the use of the amice is only required if the alb does not fit properly over the priest’s clothes.

 
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The Author : Julianne Wallace
Julianne E. Wallace is the associate director of faith formation, worship, and ministry at St. Bonaventure University in Western New York. She earned an M.T.S in Word and Worship from the Washington Theological Union in Washington, D.C. and a B.A. in Music Performance from the University of Mary Washington in Virginia. Julianne is passionate about sharing the joy of liturgy with others and helping everyone to worship well.
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  • Jason

    The amice actually served (served) a practical function: it creates a barrier between the neck and the alb absorbing perspiration and dirt, preventing the alb from becoming stained with ye olde “ring-around-the-collar.” In the days before air-conditioned churches, machine washing, and bleach, you can see how this garment piece, heavily stylized over the centuries, would have been considered mandatory.

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