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Vestments for Pentecost

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Pentecost does not symbolize the blood of a sacrifice, but it does relate to two additional spiritual meanings acknowledged by the Church. "The language of fire and blood is red," according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, "indicate[ing] blazing compassion and the victims' noble sacrifice." With this in mind, the color red for Pentecost is made to be a reference to the fire that fell upon the apostles, as well as the fire of "burning charity" that emerged in them after that.

The Roman Catholic Church has chosen the color red for Pentecost. This color is often designated for days honoring martyrs who gave their lives for the Gospel or feasts commemorating Jesus' passion, such as Good Friday, when Jesus shed his blood for our benefit. The usage of red on Pentecost does not make sense in that setting.

In Pentecost, red is used to symbolize the flaming tongues that descended upon the Apostles as they received the Holy Spirit and at feasts of the Holy Cross, Apostles, and Martyrs to represent their bloody passions (sufferings and deaths).

While members of the Church wear white gowns, the vestments for Pentecost in the Western Church are red. This color represents the Holy Spirit's fire, which manifested itself in tongues as flames on each disciple.

The Holy Spirit is frequently depicted in Christian art as a bird surrounded by a blaze of fire. Many saints are often represented as having hearts on fire, expressing their zeal for charity.

On the other hand, orthodox Christians and many Eastern Catholics use the color green for Pentecost vestments. This is done to highlight the new creation that the Holy Spirit's breath provides, as well as the newness of life that comes with it.

Finally, these colors are associated with various elements of the Holy Spirit, our Advocate and Guide, and who has been given to us to "light the world on fire" with God's love.

Red like flames, white like baptismal waters, and green like a new life. Both during Easter and throughout the year, these colors of vestments remind us of the Holy Spirit's activity.

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