The Ceremony of the Taking of the Cassock, on February 2, is a fitting beginning to a public life in the Church. On this day Our Lady and St. Joseph brought the Infant Jesus to the Temple to offer Him to God in accordance with the Law, so this year ten young men made a similar offering when they vested themselves with priestly garments. The Blessing of the Candles, which are to be a “light for the revelation of the Gentiles,” symbolizes the public role, which they must now fulfill. Henceforth they will be seen as priests, and simply by their cassock, they will carry the light of faith into the world. Just as Our Lord was prophesied to be a “sign of contradiction,” they also will have to bear occasional ridicule and coldness as members of His Church.
The cassock is a great gift. It will help to keep seminarians faithful to their promises by being a constant reminder of their calling. As Archbishop Lefebvre said in a sermon for this occasion: ‘Be proud to wear your cassock, your habit, which manifests Our Lord Jesus Christ to the world, and do not be afraid of anything: the good God, the holy angels, all of the saints in Heaven are with you, as well as all those who have worn this habit, who have been sanctified by it, and have sanctified others.’