The Armchair Liturgist: Veil Or Not

Veiling statues, images, and crosses was once commonplace in Catholicism for Holy Week and the week before. For the US, it is not mandated. But a few places do it, as a nod to traditional practice.

Render judgment from the purple armchair on how you would do it:

  • No veiling?
  • Veil during Holy Week?
  • Veil all during Lent?
  • Veil from the 5th week?
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About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Lent, The Armchair Liturgist. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The Armchair Liturgist: Veil Or Not

  1. Funny you should bring this up… I have not seen veiled statues since a way long time ago. That said, I attended a funeral yesterday and lo and behold the crucifix was veiled in purple cloth. As I have not even thought of it in awhile, and I did not like the way that it was veiled at that church, my gut inclination is no. It symbolically made more sense perhaps in the past. Maybe it still does in churches with statues, of which I see (for good or ill) very few around here.

  2. charlesincenca says:

    In keeping with the blog name, I don’t see much sensibility that would demand a necessity for veiling sacramentals in this era.

  3. Melody says:

    Most parishes here veil at least during Holy Week.

  4. Liam says:

    I am old enough to remember Passiontide veiling, pre-1970. Our “church” was a school auditorium, so there wasn’t much to veil.
    I note that my late mother, whose childhood parish is now the cathedral of Bridgeport CT, especially (of all the changes in liturgical practice pre to post council) missed the rapid unveiling of statues (by a score of altar boys) at the Easter Vigil that she fondly remembered from her childhood.
    And the Anglican church and the Anglican Ordinariate have their related but different custom of the Lenten Array.

  5. FrMichael says:

    Here the statues (and there are a lot) are veiled from the Fifth Sunday of Lent.

  6. FrMichael says:

    Good top graphic for the blog by the way!

  7. Larry Huber says:

    I have mixed feelings about covering the statues. I was waxing nostalgic about it until I attended a funeral this past week in a very ornate church that had the statues covered. It seemed as though they were trying to dress down to pretend to be humble for two weeks – major fail. Oddly enough, it was St Francis of Assisi Church.

  8. David D. says:

    Other than custom, there no longer seems to be a natural insertion point for veiling within the Lenten season as the custom has lost much of its original context, i.e., the stripping away of certain liturgical elements with increasing intensity commencing on Septuagesima and continuing from the beginning Lent through Passiontide and Holy Week. That being said, I don;t see any harm in continuing the practice. From some of the comments here, it seems as though the practice is less common, at least in certain parts of the country, than my own limited experience would have suggested.

    I have seen the rapid unveiling Liam mentioned. It is quite dramatic and even joyous to experience.

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