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Proper Dress Code for a Catholic Ordination

A Catholic ordination is a formal religious ceremony in which men take their vows as priests. When attending religious ceremonies of any kind, regardless of your personal beliefs, your dress should reflect the solemnity of such occasions, as well as the beliefs of those participating in the ceremony and other guests. Because Catholic priests are not permitted to marry, their ordinations are typically treated with the same formality of dress as weddings and followed by a reception in which guests and new priests celebrate the religious appointment.

  1. Wear men's business-formal or semiformal attire. Ensure that your clothing is clean and pressed before wearing. Dress yourself in a well-fitting business suit, white button-down dress shirt, black leather dress shoes, subdued tie, belt or suspenders and black dress socks. Polish or wipe shoes with a damp cloth to remove dust and scuffs.

  2. Wear women’s business formal or semiformal attire. Examine your garments in good lighting to verify that they are clean and pressed. Ensure that skirt hems reach at or below the knee. Dress yourself in an afternoon dress, a long dressy skirt with matching blouse, an office-appropriate dress, suit or dress with a blazer. Polish or wipe dressy heels with a damp cloth to remove dust and scuffs.

  3. Wear smart or dressy casual attire when formal attire is not available. Male guests could choose a blazer with slacks or khakis, a button-down shirt, tie, belt and brown or black leather shoes. Female guests can choose slacks or a skirt with a dressy blouse or button-up shirt, blazer and dressy shoes.


    Wear a vest with men's business-formal attire if you plan to remove your suit jacket during the reception.

    Observe best grooming practices by bathing and cleaning your nails, face, hair and hands before the ceremony.


    Do not wear overly casual shoes such as sandals, tennis shoes, sneakers or loafers. In all cases, ensure that your clothing in clean and pressed beforehand.

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Things Needed

  • Men’s business-formal attire
  • Shoe polish or damp cloth
  • Men’s semiformal attire
  • Women’s business-formal attire
  • Women’s semiformal attire
  • Men and women’s dressy-casual attire

About the Author

Chance Henson earned a B.A. in English literature and a writing minor from Lamar University. While interning at the "University Press" newspaper and "UP Beat" magazine he received an award for news feature writing from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association. Henson went on to serve as content editor for "CUSH Magazine," eventually leaving to pursue the development of an online secular humanist educational publication.

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