Confraternities and Their Garb

by Annie

confraternity1Italian Confraternities originate as far back as the tenth century, formed as religious brotherhoods coming together to pursue charitable work. Members promote religious life while remaining somewhat independent of the church. This gives them an alternative form of service for those who do not want to commit themselves to monastic life.

Today, Confraternities exist all over Italy. Members of a Confraternity wear their own distinctive dress and insignia when taking part in an act of worship. Members participate formally in religious processions and on special occasions, almost always with a priest at their head.

Each September in Lazio, Confraternities from all over the region gather at the basilica in La Quercia after taking part in a procession from nearby Viterbo to celebrate the “Patto di Amore”, Covenant of Love. confraternity2

Last year, we witnessed a gathering of Confraternity members from all over Italy. United in their service to their church and to their local priests, thousands of them gathered in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. But the most amazing sight was the adornment of a new item of garb to add to their reverential cloaks and cords… stamped polyester baseball caps!

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