WDTPRS POLL: covering Crosses, images, today

It is a traditional practice in the Latin Church to continue our deprivation, to continue our liturgical dying as we move closer to the Sacred Triduum, by covering over Crosses, statues and images, often in purple coverings.

This can be done, traditionally, from the 5th Sunday of Lent in the new, post-Conciliar calendar, which is also 1st Passion Sunday in the older, traditional calendar.

What did you find at Church for this Sunday?


Please vote… it is entirely anonymous… and feel free to post a description of what you experienced in the combox.

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  1. I’d be very surprised if this happened in our parish. (It would a a pleasant surprise, but unexpected nonetheless.) It’s probably the farthest thing from Father’s mind. He doesn’t seem to care at all for details.

  2. Carolina says:

    Everything was covered, including a couple of pictures (I think) I’d actually never noticed before (I guess I’m not that observant). Now I’m really, really curious about what they are!

  3. Fabrizio says:

    Well, my parish is SS. Trinità dei Pellegrini in Rome, staffed by FSSP… Of course they veiled everything that needed to be veiled and dedicated part of their (brief)homilies to explain why, for instance the divintiy of Christ hiding itself as the supreme moment of the Perfect Sacrifice nears, the link with today’s Gospel where he has to hide after having proclaimed his divinity, the way the Church lives this period of growing awareness of our sinful nature and the price it took to redeem us, and the memory of the ancient custom of veiling the presbiterium to remind public sinner under penance that they were denied access to Holy Communion, things like these

    Nothing that couldn’t be done in any parish EF or OF btw…

  4. Mike says:

    Nothing covered in our parish. Moreover, as the cantor was leading us in the responsorial (“The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with laughter and music.”) I checked the missalette, and it was…”we are filled with joy.”

    Then our new pastor–he’s not young–preached on death for almost 20 minutes w/o once mentioning the particular judgment.

    I need to pray. Much more than I am…

  5. For whatever reason, our parish covers the statues and crosses on Palm Sunday.

  6. chatto says:

    Everything veiled in our parish in England! Even the huge Crucifix above the Tabernacle, which wasn’t veiled last year, and a new picture of St. Terese of Lisieux – Father must have gone out of his way to get veils for these! So blessed to be in this parish.

  7. erinalicia says:

    Nothing was covered…although, we do have a HUGE crucifix that sits pretty high and I imagine it would be difficult to cover it completely

  8. Titus says:

    Dorm chapel hosting EF on campus: the crucifix was veiled. There are three sizable statues on tiny side altars along one wall and these weren’t veiled, however. The only other images in the chapel are the stations and the windows, neither of which were covered (and which would strike me as, well, odd).

  9. Mark M says:

    the E.F. Mass I went to did not have anything veiled, but I hear it will be done next week for Palm Sunday. :D

  10. Catherine says:

    I belong to an Anglican-use Roman Catholic Church. The crucifix which is carried down the aisle was covered, as well as the small crucifix which sits atop the tabernacle at the center of the altar. Statues were not covered.

    On a happy note, a former Anglican priest was ordained as a Catholic priest yesterday and will be assigned to continue at our parish!

  11. Tom A. says:

    We went to a fairly new EF Mass at St Margaret’s in Waterbury where everything was properly veiled. Father had a beautiful fiddleback chausable too. Last week at the nearby OF parish, not a word about Laetare Sunday. I have not seen veiled statutes in years. Brought back memories of my childhood.

  12. It’s neck and neck so far!

  13. Mike says:

    Everything was covered. Not just the stuff within the Church proper as is traditional at the parish, but literally *everything* resembling a statue, cross, icon, or picture, reaching to even the Church hall in the basement was covered.

    The liturgy committee clearly went and purchased a few bolts of purple fabric for the purpose.

  14. Servant of the Liturgy says:

    Over the next year, I plan on going out and personally buying several yards of purple to use for covering the statues and croses. This will happen next year along with my persuading Father to give a brief explanation in his homily. We do put a large, wooden cross in the Sanctuary, near the Tabernacle (which is at an old side altar in the Sanctuary), during Lent. I’m wondering if, next year when I veil them, if that should be covered as well. There’s a marble one high atop the reredos, which is totally out of the question, but I wonder about the one we add for Lent/Easter. Any ideas or suggestions anyone?

  15. JohnMa says:

    St. John Beloved in Mclean, VA had everything veiled and Fr. Scalia explained why in the sermon.

  16. markomalley says:

    I was at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception this morning. Nary a purple cloth in sight. I know at my home parish, they typically cover everything after the last Palm Sunday mass.

  17. DeProfundis says:

    I know the reason the statues and crucifix were not covered in our parish is that there ar no longer and purple covers to do so. I might take “Servant of the Liturgy”‘s advice and purchase some purple fabric and make them to give to our parish for next year. I am sure Father would love that.

  18. Elly says:

    Can someone explain why its good to be deprived of seeing statues and Crosses but not good to be deprived of Holy Water? Don’t both of them exist to help us spiritually?


  19. Basil says:

    I got to an Anglican-Use parish. Everything (except statues) has been covered since the beginning of Lent (the usual time in the Anglo-Catholic tradition).

  20. Father Ignotus says:

    In our parish everything has been covered since the beginning of Lent (not my decision). So also in at least one other parish nearby.

  21. Ef-lover says:

    parish I attended for EF mass ( St. Mary in Norwalk) all was covered, my parish in NY nothing is covered and then only cross is covered for Good Friday

  22. nemo says:

    We are in an FSSP parish. Everything (except the Stations) was veiled. Sister put the veils on yesterday. The Stations, of course, are not veiled so we can contemplate on the Passion.

  23. The Egyptian says:

    crossing my fingers, last year at this time a bathtub disguised as a baptismal fount, built up with canvas on boxes to resemble rocks, complete with statue of John the Baptist and fake plants appeared in front of the Mary altar, just in time for baptism of a convert, (she requested it). So far this year it has not appeared, I pray it doesn’t. No coverings either

  24. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    Actually the Chapel looked like it was still set up early for the Protestant Service, no statues, and the unadorned (no corpus) Cross. Altar further back than normal, but was in violet.

    Lackluster homily.

  25. momoften says:

    We took down all pictures, and covered all statues and crucifixes in the church, even the processional cross is covered. It took about 2 hours to do cover everything. We made our own statue covers in a stretch dark purple velvet. It drapes so elegantly. I would strongly suggest it for anyone making statue covers. I bought the stretch purple velvet on line fairly reasonable. By the time we were finished we had 3 crucifixes covered and over 13 statues covered. We have a large crucifix behind our high altar, and covered that in the same liturgical fabric to match the curtain (which we changed to purple for Lent)behind the altar. It is really profound when you enter the church to see all this covered. At home we put away all our religious pictures and will cover statues. I already miss having my things out. Even In church I found it difficult to mediate on the Rosary not being able to gaze at the blessed mother.

  26. irishgirl says:

    All the statues (four of them, plus a wall plaque of an angel by the baptismal font), the crucifix atop the altar, the altar carving of the Last Supper, AND the crosses atop the Stations of the Cross were covered.

    Now that’s what I call getting ready for Passiontide and Holy Week!

  27. Bob Glassmeyer says:

    Nothing was covered.

    And we had to sing “Lord of the Dance” for the second Sunday in a row.

    Our cross in the dining room at home was covered, however.

  28. Rob F. says:


    Holy water is holy.

    Images of statues are not holy.


  29. JosephMary says:

    There will not be anything covered in my parish church. At least today we did not sing “Whose that knockin’ at my door?” (knock knock) but rather ” I am the bread of Life” which I do not sing since I am NOT the bread of life and we had a new one about something like “We are companions on a journey”. Myself, I do not sing about the praises of ‘us’ nor do I sing as though I am Christ talking. In the rare instances that we get to sing a true hymn, you know one that praises God for example, then I will sing.

  30. Elly,
    The rubrics allow and encourage the veiling of statues during Passiontide. The do not allow (and Curial instruction forbids) the removal of Holy Water.

  31. Mike says:

    “We are companions on a journey”.

    Josephmary…that song makes me want to take out the entire choir w. water balloons.

    Seriously, it is one of the dreckiest, syrypy pieces of flotsam ever heard.

    Vent over.

  32. AnnaTrad51 says:

    Everything that needed to be covered was covered yesterday at our EF parish, right down to the crucifix in the parish hall.

  33. Discipula says:

    Everything was veiled today, even the large crucifix behind the alter.

    P.S. When my pastor defined “rubric” today he quoted Fr. Z by name. “Say the black, do the red.”

  34. Marlon says:

    Everything was beautifully veiled in our EF parish today. I forget this every year, and it comes as a shock. It is also a shock when the “Judica me” is dropped from the Mass. I remember, Fr. Z, a post you did once on how we lose things during Lent, little by little. It starts with the ‘Alleluia’ on Septuagesima Sunday. I always feel these losses particularly on this Sunday–I miss the prayers and the crucifix and the statues. We also got a rousing sermon on how we need to focus on the important things and how we waste our time on trivial and unimportant things and fail to pray enough. Father said “God gave us mouths to pray, not to gossip.” I for one will be praying more these last two weeks of Lent.

  35. Huxtaby says:

    Before I left my Parish due to a “punch-up” with the man in charge who masquerades as a priest we had begun to veil everything. My late PP re-introduced it. The only thing which wasn’t was the large hanging rood-screen crucifix.

    In, my final year, I decided to do it – so I personally bought the purple material, some fishing wire, a tennis ball and a couple of small brackets. I tacked the material onto a banner pole, threaded the fishing wire through the tennis ball. I got a large pair of steps and managed to the throw the ball (whilst holding the end of the wire!) over the right arm of the cross (repeated for the left). Then I attached the wire to either end of the banner pole and hoisted the pole upwards. I had previously attached the brackets to either side of the wooden rererdos. I attached the wire to those brackets. I must admit that it looked pretty impresive but no-one said a word about it.

    It certainly hasn’t been done since as the man in charge doesn’t genuflect, kiss the altar stone, make the sign of the cross, extend his arms etc. The other week my mother attended Mass and said that he consecrated the chalice twice! Very sad. He was ordained in 1970 and has plenty of life left in him. I suppose we ought to pray for him.

  36. jmgarciajr says:

    On Saturday (yesterday) I discovered two high school members of the parish youth group measuring the statues “so that NEXT year we can cover them properly.”


  37. ipadre says:

    I covered all of my statues this year. Brick by brick!

  38. Elly, you might want to check

    this entry

    on what is supposed to be going on in the Church’s liturgy during Lent and Passiontide.

  39. edwardo3 says:

    I dunno if the pro-cathedral plans to veil anything or not, but no veils today, but then again, the Altars were stripped of candles and linens from the 1st Sunday of Lent.

  40. MariO says:

    Nothing covered but the Holy Water WAS replaced with rocks!

  41. jackj says:

    Nothing covered, but we did hear a homily about how important it is to fill out and return our census forms.

  42. Maltese says:

    Went to Saint Anthony of Padua near Charlotte today; all images covered in purple velvet. The singing in this church is unreal! I’ve seen Brian Merson there, and many of the families of TAN publishers, since they relocated to Charlotte, go there as well, it is my understanding. This is Catholicism the way it was, or the way it is supposed to be.

  43. mairead says:

    Unfortunately my Parish Priest thinks veiling old fashioned and will not allow it

  44. jfk03 says:

    Covering images is strictly a western tradition. You will not see icons covered in Byzantine Catholic or Orthodox churches. That would smack too much of iconoclasm, which rocked the eastern churches in the 8th & 9th centuries.

  45. SidMJr says:

    I live in Brazil and all the statues at my parish were covered.

  46. thereseb says:

    At Chislehurst Fr Briggs had all the statues covered. My son was just as spooked as I used to be – as a child. Your imagination always sees something moving…….

  47. MargaretC says:

    Today was my first visit to the local FSSP parish and, of course, everything was veiled, except the Stations of the Cross. I’ll have to come back after Easter to identify the images.

    I also had occasion to drop by our Cathedral this afternoon, and everything was veiled.

    So far, I have worshipped or prayed at four churches in my new city and NOBODY has had the effrontery to put sand in the holy water fonts.

  48. amont says:

    Father, in the part of Canada with which I am familiar, I cannot recall seeing any covering in the Sanctuary (or elsewhere in Chapel) since about 1970.Of course, this now goes along with sand in the Holy Water Font and clap-happy “songs” instead of hymns !

  49. pvmkmyer says:

    Not only was nothing covered, but our resident seminarian gave the homily. But that’s another story altogether.

  50. KAS says:

    Only ONE good hymn sung (St Gregory the Great), otherwise it was nothing but the usual lame music all written in the late 1900-early 2000’s.

    well, there was one rather lame american protestant song from the late 1800’s….

    Otherwise a pretty typical Sunday Mass. Nothing improper liturgically, just really really lame music.

    You guys who have really wonderful music are lucky.

  51. marthawrites says:

    Our 15-year-old church is configured so that the crucifix is on a back side wall–most of the congregation can’t see it w/o turning around in the pews. The only statues we have are wood carvings of Mary and Joseph at the opposite back angled wall, again hardly seen by anyone. Nothing was covered, including the larger-than-life beautiful carving of Jesus with companions walking along the road to Emmaus which covers the wall behind the altar. And we could match anyone who reads this blog in the lame music category.

  52. biretam says:

    Nothing covered at our parish, as expected. But my wonderful wife surprised me when I came home form work today with all of the crucifixes and images in our house covered. We bought the fabric Friday, I just didn’t expect that it would be done today. She told me that our 2 year old was upset and cried when he saw the crucifix on our home altar was covered.

    Her blog: http://3boystolove.blogspot.com/
    pictures not posted yet, but soon…

  53. cicada380 says:

    Nothing was covered here at the parish I attend in Colorado. Relatively new in Colorado, so not sure if anything will be covered next week.

  54. lavatea says:

    Well, I really like the Cathedral where I attend (it’s generally liturgically sound as far as I can tell) but at today’s service nothing was veiled, there was still music/singing, and the Alleluia was still present. Last year I distinctly remember there at least being some thorny/ugly decorations up front during Lent, but those are absent this year as well. The music/singing might be the particular service I’ve been attending (Sunday night youth Mass – blegh – but the time frame fits fairly well), but that doesn’t account for the lack of veiling or the presence of the Alleluia.

  55. Gail F says:

    Nothing was covered, unless it was the statue of our patron saint in the vestibule (I forgot to look). But there were no plants in the sanctuary (instead of flowers, we have greenery in Lent). The corpus on our crucifix was not covered, but it’s up very high so I don’t know if it is practical to do so. However, we have a very cool Art Deco-style crucifix. Beneath the cross part is a sort of hinged panel on each side — John is painted on one side, and Mary on the other. This weekend it is closed up, so there is just a plain wooden panel beneath each side of the cross. At the end of Easter Vigil, when the lights are turned back on, servers with long poles reach up to little hooks and open the panels again, so the paintings are back.

  56. Jbuntin says:

    Nothing was covered but…Our Latin Mass Apostolate here is only using the Church on Sunday evenings. Father did give a good reason for covering the statues, and how meaninful it can be to our Passiontide experience.

  57. At Sacred Heart, Dunn, NC, as of the Vigil Mass everything–life-size crucifix, statues, pictures–were all covered, and Father spoke in his homily of what Passiontide is (including why we veil the visual), of assessing our faithfulness to our Lenten discipline so far and if we have not persevered as we ought, to pick ourselves up and restart instead of giving up; and of intensifying our devotion and self-discipline through Easter. He spoke of the last opportunity for walking the Via Crucis with Our Lord at Stations, next Friday night, and entreated us to attend either at our parish or one closer to home.

    On a side note, our organist was ill, so we chanted and sang a cappella. “O sacred Heart, surrounded” was spine-chillingly stark and beautiful in unison; I love that chorale but was overwhelmed by it without any rhamonic distraction (no matter how gorgeous) from the melody.

  58. RCOkie says:

    Nothing was covered today but it will be done next week including all crucifixes, statues, and pictures. It is done this way every year at our church.

  59. Steve K. says:

    At St. Benedict’s Chapel, Chesapeake, VA (FSSP), images and crosses veiled.

  60. catholicmidwest says:

    The crucifixes were covered. The statues of Mary and Joseph weren’t. The priest mentioned it actually, and said those statues weren’t covered because they didn’t have the right color/type of fabric to finish the job.

    The whole covering the statues thing strikes me as odd, too. But I’m a convert and a lot of things sound odd to me still, even after 25 years. I understand the holy/not holy distinction, but I’m not sure that helps a lot.

  61. catholicmidwest says:

    Still, nowdays most Catholic churches are ugly as homemade sin anyway, so I guess it doesn’t make much difference to me.

  62. Charivari Rob says:

    I wasn’t at my own parish this week.

    The parish church I visited Saturday evening doesn’t have much as regards statuary. A fairly large crucifix suspended or mounted fairly high above the sanctuary – don’t know how much of a production it would be to shroud it properly, and I don’t know if they’re planning it for next Sunday.

    I unexpectedly ended up with a retreat group on Sunday, so Mass then as well. The host facility/chapel is typically used for Mass on the weekdays, but is not always used on Sundays (depends if a group is booked). Like the other place, though, I don’t know what they have planned in the next week.

    JosephMary – “At least today we did not sing “Whose that knockin’ at my door?” (knock knock) but …”

    ??? Are you referring to Somebody’s Knockin’ At Your Door? I think I’ve heard of Who’s That Knockin’…, but only as a ditty sung by Vicki Lawrence in a Mama’s Family skit on the old Carol Burnett Show.

  63. Andrew Lomas says:

    I climbed up a ladder to veil the crucifix above the tabernacle on Saturday!!! Statues and processional crucifix veiled too. A red veil is currently being made for the crucifix on Good Friday.

  64. Sixupman says:

    Not my parish church, I must check there, but one where I trust the priest. Everything completely covered, giving rise to a rathet strange feeling. Recently re-ordered, with tabernacle restored to its proper place. Prior, thereto, a small black crucifix was on the rear wall of the pulpit, the diocesan ‘know-all’ dictated taht it should not be put back and, therefore, the wall remains bare. Reprehensible busybody.

  65. basenji says:

    My parish celebrates in the Ordinary Form and does not veil until after the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. Even though it’s a solemn occasion, I’m always happy to see it being done.

  66. StMalachy says:

    Everything was covered up in our parish.

    The first thing my 6 year old son said when we walked in was “Hey, I’ve been to a Mass before where the statues were covered up”. It was nice to realise he does pay attention sometimes!

  67. aeneas says:

    All statues were covered EXCEPT the crucifix above the tabernacle and the processional crucifix. Mass was in the Extraordinary Form, but, alas, the celebrant did say the “iudica me” at the prayers at the foot of the altar. I was not at my parish church, however.

  68. Henry Edwards says:

    In my diverse new-round-church suburban daily Mass parish — everything shrouded in red, not only the statues in church, crucifix above the altar, and processional cross, but also the statues and crucifixes in the narthex and halls, as well as the crucifix, statues and icon and pictures on the walls in our adoration chapel.

    In my old never-wreckovated downtown EF Sunday Mass church — everything shrouded in violet, including the statues of Christ the King and the four Evangelists build into the redos behind the high altar.

  69. stilicho says:

    Nothing was covered, but I did notice that there is now a crucifix on the altar, where before there wasn’t one.

  70. FranzJosf says:

    Over at the New Liturgical Movement they have a nice photo of my church with statues covered, Saint Joseph’s, Troy, New York. So nice to see. The Carmelites, who run the parish, are so nice to we TLMers.

  71. FranzJosf says:

    At St. Joseph’s, we’re even going to have the Triduum according to the ’62 Missal. (Would that it were pre-1955, but I’m still grateful.)

  72. j says:

    Actually, a happy coincidence; several people who usually help were unavailable, so the covering of statues was not done before Congregation began arriving. So, right before Mass, Servers reverently covered everything. Mass actually began 5 minutes late, but the universal reaction was how much people appreciated the time to pray in preparation for Passiontide, as the the Church was prepared for Passiontide. We may do this on purpose next year.

  73. Ginkgo100 says:

    At my “standard,” contemporary, Ordinary-Form-only parish, statues and images were covered with purple cloth. The crucifix behind the altar was covered with, for some reason, red cloth. The catechetical reasons were explained last week in the bulletin and, if I remember right, in an announcement.

    On the other hand, the holy water fonts were dry! I asked the deacon about it after Mass, and he did not know why, but said there was some holy water in the sacristy and he’d get it taken care of. I suspect an overzealous “worship coordinator” who was acting of his or her own accord. When a similar thing happened last year and I asked the pastor about it, he did not even quite seem to believe me, so I know it wasn’t his doing. Last year the holy water was back by Palm Sunday.

    At least there was no sand in them!

  74. Unfinished says:

    I must say, at my parish here in eastern North Carolina nothing was covered. In fact, the first Sunday of Lent the crucifix was removed from the church completely. I am ready for Easter and the return of our Lord to the sanctuary.

  75. Genevieve says:

    To Unfinished – Our Lord isn’t the crucifix; He’s still in the sanctuary as long as you have a tabernacle in the sanctuary with the consecrated Host in it. However, it is nice to have that reminder of His love for us in the Church. :)

    The closets EF is an hour and forty five minutes from where I live. The local NO parish did not have the statues covered. Actually, our priest is out of town and the fill-in delivered his homily on temptation. He said the first temptation is putting too much of an emphasis on the past or on the future. As an example of putting too much emphasis on the past, he used those who would have the altar “face the wall,” and the priest speak in Latin. “Do you want to go back to that?” he asked a young parishioner, “NEITHER DO I!” he boomed. Please pray for our parish and our diocese.

  76. Nathan says:

    Ginkgo100 makes an interesting observation regarding the color of the coverings in parishes where the OF predominates. I don’t think the color is specified, but since the Mass vestments for Palm Sunday–the 2d Sunday of Passiontide–are red in the Novus Ordo (the blessing of the palms and procession is in a red cope in the TLM, but the Mass itself is said in violet vestments), would red or violet coverings be preferable?

    In Christ,

  77. roamincatholic says:

    I actually mentioned it to the pastor last week. He said “well… we’ll do it next week for Palm Sunday…”

  78. ssoldie says:

    Oh! Henry Edward’s would I ever love to pray the Gregorian Mass there at your never- wreckovated downtown Church,how very wonderful. We have a large crucifix, that had a purple cloth draped around it.

  79. ejcmartin says:

    In the two parishes I have been to since Sunday, nothing has been covered. That being said, we didn’t get to our normal parish on Sunday where the priest is more likely to do such things.

    Tonight when we prepared for bed there was a purple sheet of tissue paper on my four year-old’s “grotto” where he says his prayers. We had discussed the covering up statues on Sunday and he took upon himself to go to the craft closet find the paper and cover up his statues. Who knows what his future holds!?

  80. ray from mn says:

    I went to Mass today and found that the Icons were appropriately shrouded in violet. The crucifix was shrouded in red.

    I mentioned to Father that I thought that everything was shrouded in violet when I was a boy in the 50’s. He told me that my memory was faulty. I don’t think so.

    One or two commenters mentioned “red” in their parishes. Is that an option?

  81. St Michael’s in Annandale, Virginia shrouded everything. The Crucifix looked like it was in a big bag of sorts.

  82. So, coverings and no coverings, pretty close.

  83. Geremia says:

    I am in a Latin mass community that shares another church, and that church covered nothing up. We covered up our altar cross, however.

  84. Gladiolus says:

    I am in seminary: nothing is ever veiled and there is an active policy on the part of the Rector & Staff to ensure this.

  85. lavatea says:

    The two large statues at the front of the church were veiled today but no other images were. Very strange.

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