Send in your photos of veiled images in your churches!

If you send me good and useable photos of your churches and chapels with the images and statues veiled (as they may be as of 1st Passion Sunday (1962MR) or 5th Sunday of Lent (2002MR), I will try to post them.

I don’t promise to post eveything sent to me, but I will do my best!

I’ll start things off.

This is the chapel of the Sabine Farm.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Here is one from:

    Our Lady of Wisdom Church & Catholic Student Center, Lafayette, LA


  2. St. Peter’s, Troy, NY


  3. St. Stephens, Sacramento, CA


  4. Diane says:

    Sigh. I was ill-prepared, and without camera today.

  5. Mairead says:

    I am so envious. My parish priest will not veil anything as he thinks it’s old fashioned.

  6. Matt says:

    No veiling of statues here at St. Dom’s in Panama City, but someone did manage to come
    and steal all the Holy water! (Is that legal?)

    Calgon, take me away…


  7. Thomas says:

    At one of the churches here, some vandal dumped out all the holy water from the fonts and put dirt in. I cleaned out the dirt and told the pastor about the incident.

  8. Sacristy_rat says:

    Holy Water is to be taken out of the stoops on Maundy Thursday, not now. The sand is intended to bring attention to the fact that the water is deliberately not there.

    That reminds me of a priest frind of mine that asked me when he was supposed to cover the statues…as folks were doing it at the beginning of Lent.

  9. David2 says:

    On the “Holy Water” issue, Fr Z did an excellent post on this in 2006:

    An excerpt:

    Prot. N. 569/00/L

    March 14, 2000

    Dear Father:

    This Congregation for Divine Worship has received your letter sent by fax in which you ask whether it is in accord with liturgical law to remove the Holy Water from the fonts for the duration of the season of Lent.

    This Dicastery is able to respond that the removing of Holy Water from the fonts during the season of Lent is not permitted, in particular, for two reasons:

    1. The liturgical legislation in force does not foresee this innovation, which in addition to being praeter legem is contrary to a balanced understanding of the season of Lent, which though truly being a season of penance, is also a season rich in the symbolism of water and baptism, constantly evoked in liturgical texts.

    2. The encouragement of the Church that the faithful avail themselves frequently of the [sic] of her sacraments and sacramentals is to be understood to apply also to the season of Lent. The “fast” and “abstinence” which the faithful embrace in this season does not extend to abstaining from the sacraments or sacramentals of the Church. The practice of the Church has been to empty the Holy Water fonts on the days of the Sacred Triduum in preparation of the blessing of the water at the Easter Vigil, and it corresponds to those days on which the Eucharist is not celebrated (i.e., Good Friday and Holy Saturday).

    Hoping that this resolves the question and with every good wish and kind regard, I am,

    Sincerely yours in Christ,
    Mons. Mario Marini

  10. Patricia Gonzalez says:

    Our parish has had images (including the altar crucifix) veiled since the start of Lent — very odd, since I always thought this was done only from Passion Sunday (i.e., today) till the Easter Vigil. Do any other parishes follow this custom? Would appreciate additional info on this.

  11. David2 says:

    Patricia Gonzalez,

    Veiling statues from the start of Lent is not the correct practice. You are right to say that this is properly done from Passion Sunday (or the fifth Sunday of Lent).

    For further details:

    Fr McNamara says: “Veiling during all of Lent may have been a common practice in the Middle Ages, but it has been restricted to Passiontide for several centuries. Hence, the practice our reader described is incorrect.”

    Fr McNamara gives a history of the practice, and also deals with the emptying of holy water stoups, as set out in my previous post. This practice of veiling for all of Lent and removing holy water in Lent seems to be a modernist abuse, and not approved by the Chruch, but in the case of veiling statues, there seem to be some legitimate variations in accordance wih local custom and law.

  12. david andrew says:

    Sacristy rat said: “Holy Water is to be taken out of the stoops on Maundy Thursday, not now. The sand is intended to bring attention to the fact that the water is deliberately not there.”

    I hope you weren’t serious in your response. If you weren’t, I apologize for missing the humor. If you were serious, then I strongly encourage you to read the GIRM and other docs on the subject.

    ISTM that the water not being there brings attention to the fact that the water isn’t there. I think we’ve all heard the vinegar about putting sand in the stoups making them look more like hotel ashtrays.

    Since we’re sprinkled corporately during the Easter Vigil and on Easter Sunday and therefore not in need of water in the stoups at that time, why not replace the sand with jelly beans?

  13. Ann says:

    Sadly since our church (under a previous administration) installed a “resurrexific” instead of a true crucifix, that feature is covered during Lent and the processional cross (which is a real crucifix) is moved into the sanctuary during Lent.

  14. Ole Doc Farmer says:

    Everything is veiled at St. Benedict’s in Richmond, Virginia…but nobody had a camera on hand.

  15. Fr W says:

    I wonder about the theology of the veiling of statues.
    I do not know the reason. I used to believe that, like the removal of the Eucharist on Holy Saturday, we are without even the saints.

    I have wondered however of another: we speak of the ‘marriage bed of the cross’ and the ‘wedding banquet of the Lamb.’ Christ ‘weds’ his bride. The veil is split – the bride’s veil. The bride is joined to her husband in the wedding chamber – the upper room, heaven, the heavenly Jerusalem… – could the covering of the statues represent the Church veiled, prepared for the Bridegroom?

  16. Daniel Anselmo says:

    I am confused. It is quite lovely to veil images and crucifixes. But, aren’t crucifixes required to say Mass? How does a veiled crucifix satisfy the requirement? Or is the altar crucifix unveiled at Mass and veiled again after it?

  17. Kiran says:

    Fr. W, would I be right in seeing it in connection with the omission of the alleluia, and the gloria, as a kind of general darkening, a fasting involving all the senses. We lose words and some liturgical texts, bells, now statues and visual aids, altar vestments and eventually even the Eucharist reserved in the Tabernacle.

  18. Paul Cavendish says:

    The Roman practice of veiling images is linked to the gospel pericope for Passion Sunday ‘…Jesus autem abscondit se,…’. In many other usages, like Holy Sarum, a Lenten Veil was employed screening the sanctuary. Both Thurston in ‘Lent and Holy Week’ and Wickham-Legg in ‘Ecclesiological Essays’ refer to the practice, still extant in the early years of this century in some places.

    The English rites, generally, had the the images covered in ‘Lenten Array’, a dull cloth, with red (or sometimes blue) crosses rather than violet coverings from Ash Wednesday. Images were generally unveiled before Paschal Mattins.

  19. Mark says:

    Everything is veiled at St. Mary’s in David City, NE. We also recently started using the wooden clapper on Holy Thursday and began an altar of repose(we used to just sit a ciboria on the altar and that acted as our altar of repose).

  20. Mark2 says:

    For the record, can anyone tell me where we find the particular law allowing the veiling of statues in the Ordinary Form the week before holy week?

  21. St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lebanon, Indiana


  22. St. Agnes, St. Paul, MN


  23. St. Lawrence Chapel, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania


  24. The Western Dominican Province House of Studies, St. Albert the Great Priory, in Oakland CA, has all statutes in the chapel including those on the rererdos of the High Altar veiled in violet. I would send a picture, but I have no camera.

  25. Kat says:

    The ICKSP apostalate in St. Louis yesterday.
    High Altar

  26. St. Louis, MO – ICK –


  27. samuel says:

    There is not a veil in sight in my, new, parish, here out on the north-western tip of London. I must say, so beautiful is the church (by the same architect who created (my)Westminster Cathedral in the early 20th century, and this church got finished)it would seem a crime against aesthetics to cover anything in the church. True, a less serious crime, but one I cannot help but forgive.

  28. samuel says:

    Oh, sorry, I should say I’m entirely new here, due to an article published in the Catholic Herald – the only publication of any kind (apart from one called Catholic Life) worth picking up (and coughing up for, I should hope!), except the CTS pamphlets which, if you haven’t looked lately, have had a huge, wonderful expansion in publications. And Samuel is the name by which only the Church knows me, yet I no longer wear a habit of any kind. Even if there is not an official ‘de-clothing’ ceremony (which stuck me as strange), I woudn’t put in on in mainland Britain.

  29. samuel says:

    This is a very clever site – the Anti-spam word I just typed was ‘think before posting’. The answer that I think was given was that, in churches where the ordinary form of the Roman Rite is used, no litugical practice of the extraordinary form should be exercised, and that surely means includes the veiling of statues, as well as sandy stoups. I suppose where the extraordinary Rite is used occasionally, preparation of the church would have to be made, then un-made, before, then after, the Mass.

  30. Margaret Jackson says:

    The covering of the religious statues and crosses reminds us without Christ’s sacrefice on Good Friday these would not exit. The forgiveness of our sins and the gift of eternal life would be null. So thank you Jesus.

  31. Josiah says:

    But veiling statues during passiontide is’nt restricted to just the ordinary form. You MUST do it in the extraordinary form, as it’s a non-negotiable rubric. In the novus ordo, it’s a non-obligatory option, but a valid one nonetheless. I’ve never heard of that rule, and if it does exist, it’s stupid. Break whatever rubrics you want, just don;t do something old. We do veil statues at my parish. I had no camera, so I can posy no pictures until Wednesday or Saturday. Interestingly, I veiled that images in my little oratory/prayer room.

  32. Mater Ecclesiae, Camden, NJ


  33. St. Margaret Mary, Oakland, CA


  34. Patronus says:

    The permission to cover crosses and statues is built into the current English translation of the Roman Missal (at least in my copy), as a rubric under Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent:

    “The practice of covering crosses and images in the church may be observed, if the episcopal conference decides. the crosses are to be covered until the end of the celebration of the Lord’s passion on Good Friday. Images are to remain covered until the beginning of the Easter vigil.”

    According to this March, 2006 BCL newsletter – – the rubric is built into the 3rd typical edition, and has been approved by the USCCB.

    They also give a good theological reason for the practice:
    “The veiling of crosses and images is a sort of ‘fasting’ from sacred depictions which represent the paschal glory of our salvation. Just as the Lenten fast concludes with the Paschal feast, so too, our fasting from the cross culminates in an adoration of the holy wood on which the sacrifice of Calvary was offered for our sins. Likewise, a fasting from the glorious images of the mysteries of faith and the saints in glory, culminates on the Easter night with a renewed appreciation of the glorious victory won by Christ, risen from the tomb to win for us eternal life.”

  35. St. Joseph’s, Maybee, Michigan


  36. As a Byzantine, I have always found this practice a curious one, especially when one considers the role of images in forming and informing the minds and hearts of the faithful, not to mention their sacramental power. I am not trying to be critical of the custom, but wondering how it fits into the Church’s overall teaching on icons (Eastern or Western), especially as so beautifully summarized by Pope Benedict in his “The Spirit of the Liturgy”. (And Christoph Cardinal Schonborn’s “God’s Human Face”.)

    Is not the covering of images tantamount to the emptying of Holy Water Fonts? Not catching the distinction entirely…

    An interesting contrast with this practice is that in the East, towards the beginning of the Great Fast (Lent) we celebrate the restoration of the images to the churches and monasteries after the defeat of the iconoclasts.

    God bless,


  37. Mother of Perpetual Succour Oratory, Christchurch, NZ… Transalpine Redemptorists


  38. Blessed Sacrament, Kansas City, KS – FSSP


  39. Gordo:

    As I wrote in another place… We lose things during Lent. We are being pruned through the liturgy. Holy Church experiences liturgical death before the feast of the Resurrection. The Alleluia goes on Septuagesima. Music and flowers go on Ash Wednesday. On Passion Sunday, statues and images are draped in purple. That is why Passion Sunday is sometimes called Repus Sunday, from repositus analogous to absconditus or “hidden”, because this is the day when Crosses and other images in churches are veiled.

    Traditionally Crosses may be covered until the end of the celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday and images, such as statues may be covered until the beginning of the Easter Vigil.

    As part of the pruning, From Passion Sunday in the older form of Mass, the “Iudica” psalm in prayers at the foot of the altar and the Gloria Patri at the end of certain prayers was no longer said.

    The pruning cuts more deeply as we march into the Triduum.

    After the Mass on Holy Thursday the Blessed Sacrament is removed from the main altar, which itself is stripped and bells are replaced with wooden noise makers.

    On Good Friday there isn’t even a Mass. But there can be Communion.

    On Saturday, liturgically considered, there isn’t even Communion. And by the time we get to the Vigil, we are deprived of light itself!

    It is as if the Church herself were completely dead with the Lord in His tomb. This liturgical death of the Church reveals how Christ emptied Himself of His glory in order to save us from our sins and to teach us who we are.

    The Church then gloriously springs to life again at the Vigil of Easter. In ancient times, the Vigil was celebrated in the depth of night. In the darkness a single spark would be struck from flint and spread into the flames. The flames spread through the whole Church.

  40. Michael says:

    I just stopped by Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City on my way to work this morning. I was
    disappointed to see that none of the statues or crosses were veiled.

  41. Father Z,

    As always, beautifully put. The glory is temporarily veiled in order to view with gratitude its full restoration and manifestation…a true image of Resurrection.

    And, to link it back to my earlier point about Eastern practice, the pattern of the “Triumph of Orthodoxy” recapitulated in a Paschal context!

    Thanks for the reply.

    In ICXC,


  42. John Paul says:

    Just curious about the photo of Blessed Sacrament in KC. It looks like a magnificent
    high altar, but is the upper half only a painting? (It just looks like that in the
    photo). Beautiful church, though.

  43. Margaret says:

    When I asked my pastor why the statues were not covered with purple cloth, he replied “that is pre-Vatican II — we don’t do that anymore!

  44. St. Stephen’s House, Oxford


  45. Margaret: “that is pre-Vatican II — we don’t do that anymore!

    How typical.

  46. TNCath says:

    Fr. Z and Margaret: And how erroneous!

  47. Two parishes in Washington DC (photos):

    (Strangely only the crucifixes are velied, and with red. Moreover, they have been veiled for a few weeks now.)

    And Margaret, tell your pastor to check the Paulist Press (no traditionalists themselves!) Ordo’s note under Saturday March 8th.

  48. Greg Smisek says:


    I like your comparison of the unveiling of images to the Triumph of Orthodoxy “in a Paschal context.”

    Our Holy Father Benedict just recently spoke to his diocesan clergy about fasting from words and images in Lent in order to rediscover the true Word and true Image. It’s well worth a read, if only to see the Bishop of Rome acknowledge the “iconoclastic period of the post-conciliar years.”

    I used the veiling of the statues and cross as a starting point for a discussion of our Lord’s Passion with my 9th-grade Confirmandi. And I used two secular illustrations. I asked them if they’d ever gone on vacation, and when they returned they noticed something in their neighborhood that they hadn’t noticed before, because they were looking at it with new eyes. I also pointed out that veiling something doesn’t mean it’s not there. Witness any birthday boy or girl eyeing the “veiled” gifts.

  49. Mark says:

    John Paul: I attend Blessed Sacrament when I travel to KC and the high altar is not a painting. It is a statue of the Christ hold the host. It is a beautiful church and I believe they are close to putting in a communion rail. I did find it interesting that only the crucifix was veiled and not all of the statues.

  50. Tinytin says:

    Very lovely fresco at the Sabine Chapel!

  51. Jack007 says:

    Mark and John Paul…
    I actually posted this over at the Passion reading post.
    The reason only the crucifix is covered; we share the parish with the NO.
    We are guests…
    As to the communion rail possibility; please pray for our community.
    As an aside, the statue of Christ with the host was originally turned sideways and was administering Communion to a kneeling man. When the church was “updated” in the early 80’s, the kneeling man was removed, and Christ was turned facing forward. “Naturally”, the communion rail was removed as well. It is still a beautiful church and we are blessed that Archbishop Naumann allows us to be there.
    Jack in KC

  52. Ryan says:

    From Old St. Mary’s in Washington, DC.

  53. Oulton Abbey in Staffordshire, UK. last Palm Sunday. The Abbey is the home of Benedictine Nuns. The church is the first of E W Pugin and was consecrated in 1854


  54. Old St. Mary’s, Cincinnati, OH


  55. Old St. Mary’s, Washington, D.C.


  56. Holy Spirit Church, Bytom, Poland


  57. San Gregorio dei Muratori, Rome – FSSP


  58. St. Mary’s – Wausau, WI – ICK



    A little hard to see, but the Crosses are veiled on the main and side altars. If all the statues and images were veiled this would be spectacular!

  59. Jonathan Bennett says:

    In that picture of St. Mary’s in Wausau you can see they have closed the massive baroque triptych above the Altar.

  60. St. Clement’s – Ottawa


  61. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    Someone from my territorial parish (a place to be avoided) told me that the veils over the statues should be changed from purple to black for Good Friday. Now I have never heard that one in my entire life. Is it true? Could it be a legitimate local custom?

    I know that the tabernacle veil may never be black. On \’black\’ days, it is purple, even if the burse and vestments are black. But can the veils over the statues and crosses be black on Good Friday? Can anyone answer this one?


  62. St. John Cantius, Chicago



  63. St. Boniface, Pittsburgh


  64. St. John the Baptist, Costa Mesa, CA


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