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A vimpa (plural: vimpae) is a veil or shawl worn over the shoulders of servers who carry the miter and crosier in Catholic liturgical functions when they are not being used by the bishop. The vimpa is used to hold the miter or crosier, thus preventing direct contact with the pontificalia by anyone other than the bishop. The two vimpa-bearers attend the bishop during Pontifical Mass, and follow him in procession. Their function is to show the congregation that the person carrying the item (either the Mitre or the Crozier) does not have the authority of a bishop. The carrier of the Crozier also holds it in the closed position, i.e., crook facing towards them.
The term is also used to refer to the attendants themselves. A vimpa is occasionally used in the Anglican liturgy when the crosier is carried before the bishop in procession.
The vimpa may take the form of a cape-like shawl or a many-pleated scarf, with a base colour of either white or silver. A vimpa can be a simple white/silver veil or can be fashioned with one or many liturgical symbols, such as crosses. The vimpa can hang on the mitre- and crosier-bearers' shoulders or be secured in the front by velcro, ribbon or even clasps. They can end as short as the server's waist, and as long as the server's feet.
Due to its form, many people often mistake the vimpa for a Humeral Veil which is used to hold the Monstrance. There is nothing wrong with a vimpa being fashioned like a humeral veil as long as it is not overdone and follows important rules such as colour and design. Since it is only used at Pontifical Masses, a well-fashioned vimpa can stand out in the grandness of the celebration and appear spectacular when holding a mitre and crosier.
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