Last Saturday at 1st Vespers was the time to veil statues and images in your churches (1st Passion Sunday, the 5th Sunday of Lent).


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Catholicguy says:

    My parish doesn’t have any statues in the sanctuary unfortunately, but I would hope that if it did, we would cover them.

  2. Andrew says:

    No statues in our parish, not even a corpus on the cross, which looks like a giant letter T high above the “altar” that looks every bit like a large butcher block.

  3. NC says:

    I spent half the morning precariously perched high on a ladder with lengths of violet cloth, pins, bits of stick-on’velcro’ etc. The Health and Safety enforcement people and diocesan insurers would have been given to apoplexy. Someone was parked below steadying the ladder shouting “Right a bit, Father, pull the left side down, Father, it has come away on the right arm of the cross, Father…..Father, next year we must remember to have these made up to fit.”
    Ah, the joys of Passiontide! Tonight at Mass there will be puzzled questions about where the votive candles have gone….

  4. chunky_farles says:

    My diocese has a variety of bizarre Lenten practices. First of all, the holy water is removed from the fonts and replaced with sand. It is the one time in the year that the crucifix is displayed in some churches, but in others the cross is veiled for the duration of Lent. On Good Friday, many of the parishes remove the altar from the sanctuary for the service, and crosseds bereft of the corpus are used for the veneration of the cross. Many of the parishes either let an empty cross or a resurrefix stand for the Easter season. I will not be attending the triduum liturgies…they are simply too distressing.

  5. ray from mn says:

    I was at St Agnes Saturday a.m. for Father Robert Altier’s “Catholic Parents’ Online” retreat. Everything was covered as shown in your image. But no “triple ambo” display.

    An older photo?

  6. Patrick says:

    My church covers them starting next Sunday….()

  7. Father Bartoloma says:

    Yes. Because I pushed for it.

  8. Jon says:

    From this morning’s “Latin Mass Bulletin” of the Latin Mass Society, Harrisburg, Pennyslvania.
    Apostolate of the FSSP.

    “Why are all the Statues Covered?

    The two weeks of Passiontide begin today, the first week being known as “Passion Week,” and the second week being known as “Holy Week.” This day – Passion Sunday – memorializes the increasing antipathy against Christ from the Jews who would not accept Him and accused Him of sorcery and of being blasphemous and possessed by a devil. From today until Holy Thursday, the Judica me and the Gloria Patris at the Introit and Lavabo are omitted from Masses of the Season (not Sundays and Feasts). Today, statues and sacred images (except for the Stations of the Cross) are veiled with purple cloth beginning at First Vespers of Passion Sunday, and they remain covered until the Gloria of Holy Saturday, at which point Lent ends and Eastertide begins. Catholics cover statues and icons, etc…, in their homes for the same period (the cloth shouldn’t be translucent or decorated in any way).”

  9. Seumas says:

    Well, I wasn’t able to travel to my normal parish today, so I don’t know. They are pretty traditional, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the veils are up. I don’t remember when they went up last year.

    Instead of the usual sung Gregorian Mass, I got stuck at my local parish… and it was a… cough cough… Lifeteen Mass. At least I got to stand at the foot of the cross, and receive my Lord today… even if some of the people there were dancing around, singing praise and worship music, etc.

    Ironically, the majority of the people there were older people, 40s and up. Whereas the majority at my regular Gregorian Mass are 20s and younger.

    I thought Lifeteen was suppose to be for the young people?

  10. barb says:

    Dear Father Bartoloma,

    Good for you, Father! I wonder if many priests of the Novus Ordo are uninformed of the practice. As we know, seminary training has been abysmal over the past 40 years or more. I attend the Traditional Mass whenever possible – about 8 times a year because the drive one way is 3 hours, and in Passion Week and Holy Week the statues are always covered in purple cloth. We have an old Benedictine in one parish who, every Lent, removes holy water from the fonts and puts in purple crystals, but he has a very elevated opinion of the St. Louis Jesuits under whom he learned a Ph. D. in psychology in the 1960s. Need I say more? I truly wish there was not such a strong, muscle-bound spirit of disobedience in our diocese.

  11. Janet says:

    I’m somewhat embarrassed to say that I have never heard of this practice of veiling the statues on the 5th Sunday of Lent, and have never seen it done. The few statues in my parish were still standing unveiled Sunday. I didn’t make it out to EWTN’s chapel Sunday, so will have to check later and see if they at least veiled theirs.
    I wonder how many other beautiful traditions of Catholicism have been done away with since Vatican II, and are therefore unknown to many converts like me?

  12. Henry Edwards says:

    I wonder how many other beautiful traditions of Catholicism have been done away with since Vatican II, and are therefore unknown to many converts like me?

    Unfortunately, Janet, their number is Legion.

  13. Fr Martin Fox says:

    This is one of those things I would be interested in doing that we don’t do now, but is waiting in line behind other things we are working on doing.

  14. Henry Edwards says:

    I told a local pastor yesterday about the results of Fr. Z’s poll. He said “Let’s do it.” So my wife and I spent some time after Mass yesterday shopping on the Sabbath, looking for enough purple cloth for this purpose. (We found it, but not as easily as I’d have thought, not being a real aficionado of fabric shops.) We’ll be a bit late so far as Passion Sunday — well, Novus Ordo wise, it’s “only” the 5th Sunday of Lent — but in plenty of time for Palm Sunday (aka 2nd Sunday of Passiontide) and Holy Week.

  15. Fr Martin Fox says:


    With all respect, I wonder how you can simply assert, “As we know, seminary training has been abysmal over the past 40 years or more.” For one thing, the measure of good seminary training is hardly how well seminarians know about statue-veiling! Nor does the lack of the latter demonstrate the former assertion.

    That is not to deny weaknesses in seminary training; it is rather hard to imagine any world in which seminary training will not feature some weaknesses! Which means, for example, our seminaries of today most likely have strengths the “good old days” didn’t have. Perfection is elusive in this world.

    There is a very unreflective approach that seems not to be aware of vast changes in the seminary over many years: for one thing, given the problems that came just after the Council — if one is going to locate the problem in the seminary — then one has little choice but to locate problems in the seminary further back than 40 years ago (i.e., prior to the Council!); and anyone who really knows what is going on in seminaries knows that trends have swung rather broadly over the past couple of decades. Many problems well known, from the ’80s, have been dealt with.

    After all, just where do you think the new priests, who are much more interested in the Church’s full tradition, are coming from? Mars?

  16. woodyjones says:

    I answered “yes” but this was a bit misleading because at Our Lady of Walsingham here in Houston (of the Pastoral Provision and Anglican Usage), we have had our statues (except for the crucifx and Our Lady and St John, on the retablo) covered since Sunday of I Lent (that’s the first Sunday of Lent, for all you regular Roman rite folks). See it here:

  17. RobK says:

    Why is the Holy Water removed?

  18. Hildebrand says:

    I find this discussion interesting. It must be an American or European thing. Here deep in Auusieland the rule (adhered to bu both conservative and liberal parishes) is to veil all statues, crucifixes and holy pictures from Ash Wednesday to Easter Saturday morning. I cannot of course speak for all parishes and there maybe some ultra liberal parishes that don’t veil or who empty the Holy Water stoups in Lent (after all it has been said if America sneezes we catch cold) but in my quite wide experience photographing churches for my website the rule that ALL statues, pictures and crucifixes must be veiled for Lent is pretty universal here. Likewise I had never heard (and have never seen) the stoups emptied except when someone forgets to top them up. I might add that veiling is generally taken to excess in my parish where even the Bishop’s photo is veiled.

  19. Adam van der Meer says:


    Something that many people fail to consider is that in the “old days”, most priests would have been through 8-12 years of seminary — high school seminary, college seminary, then major seminary. Nowadays, most guys have 4-6 years of seminary training, period — on top of whatever undergraduate and/or graduate studies they may have done in secular fields.

    There is only so much you can fit into 4-6 years. It is perhaps not ideal. Fortunately, we are very strongly encouraged to commit ourselves to a lifetime of study, and most of us are very interested in filling in the gaps that may have been left in our study. We take seriously the statement of the Holy Father John Paul II in Pastores Dabo Vobis that “all formation…is ultimately a self-formation” – meaning that it is first and foremost our responsibility to see to it that we learn what is required to be a good and holy priest.

    Things are not going to change overnight — but they are changing. Let’s look ahead and do what we can to be a part of the change, and stop complaining about the past.

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