POLL: Covering of images for 1st Passion Sunday, 5th Sunday of Lent

From this Sunday, traditionally called 1st Sunday of the Passion, it is customary to veil images in churches.

What is going on where you are?

This is a fine old tradition.  It has to do with deprivation of the senses and the liturgical dying of the Church in preparation for the Lord’s tomb and resurrection.

We are our rites.

For this 1st Sunday of the Passion (5th Sunday of Lent) I saw in church that:

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  1. Priam1184 says:

    They did it early (I think last night) at the parish where I attended Saturday morning Mass today. And the pastor of that parish even stopped his exit procession to give a little catechisis on why the statues were covered. They have done it there in years past but this is the only parish in town where I see it.

  2. mburn16 says:

    Our church has very few statues and images within the sanctuary, and I have not ever seen them veiled. We do, however, swap out our processional cross with the corpus for one without, and this lasts through the end of the Easter season.

  3. ocleirbj says:

    One of our parishes has had all its statues and crosses veiled since Ash Wednesday. We are in Ontario, but this particular church is staffed by priests from Poland – I don’t know if that makes a difference. On the plus side, this year they still have holy water in the fonts.

  4. Will D. says:

    My parish did the same as Priam1184’s. Everything except the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe (which is in the former Blessed Sacrament Chapel) was veiled for daily Mass this morning. Our previous pastor reinstated the tradition about 4 years ago, and I’m pleased to see the new pastor is maintaining it.

  5. Irradiated says:

    Given that the photo for this article was taken at the Oratory I attend, I’m certain the images will be veiled tomorrow.

  6. Elizium23 says:

    We will be veiling statues, but only after the last Mass on Palm Sunday.

  7. greasemonkey says:

    As usual, as it is the day prior to the 5th Sunday of Lent, I was in the process of covering the altar cross and statues in the sanctuary when Father came into the Church and immediately directed me to stop doing so, and to remove the veils. He said, “We are not doing that any more.” In addition he said, “We have discussed this many times before.” This was troubling for a few reasons. To my knowledge Father did not discuss this issue with me, or any other members of the community. Also, I made a presentation to the parish council in 2010 regarding the liturgical significance of covering the statues and crosses. The members of the parish council seemed to embrace the practice, and there were no objections from the staff. The practice is approved in the Ordinary Form, and mandatory in the Extraordinary Form, and we have continued to veil since the Extraordinary Form has been celebrated at our parish, although we now have a new Administrator. To add another dimension to the situation; my 4 year old son was with me helping. As I had explained to him the significance of what we were doing; having Father come in and abruptly put a stop to it left an awkward disparity between what I had explained to him, and what I was being asked to do. I took the veils down and left with my son discouraged……

  8. chen2 says:

    I will find out tomorrow morning, but I would imagine so. Planning on attending my 2nd ever Tridentine Mass in the morning.

    On a related note, this is my first year teaching at a Catholic School, so of course I have a crucifix (actually 3) in my classroom and a small statue of the Virgin Mary. What exactly qualifies as an image? Do I veil all three crucifixes and the statue? I also have a picture of the Resurrection; does this need to be covered as well?

    Thanks in advance!

  9. In our church we have a temporal art installation called ECCE.
    Photos linked above are from there.
    P.S. The link to my homepage from my username in last post is no longer valid. It has been updated correctly in this post. Please use the new one. Thank you.

  10. johnnys says:

    At my parish all statues, images and Crucifixes were covered by the time of Stations of the Cross at 7 pm Friday.

  11. Mike says:

    Veiled both at the semi-traditional parish at which I attended TLM this morning and at my home (NO) parish for 4:00 “vigil” mass this afternoon.

  12. Maynardus says:

    After Mass this morning Father asked for “the more nimble amongst the congregation” to stay after Mass, if they could, and help veil the statues. Although loath to admit it, I have moved into that less-nimble phase of my life known as “middle age” and although we have been blessed with five (mostly-nimble) sons, the only one accompanying me this morning was the least-nimble amongst the quintet! Not to fear, with the help of a twentysomething from a neighboring parish (who’d wandered in to see what the TLM was like, since we’re blessed to have one on Saturday morning), one of our seventysomething mainstays, and one very large ladder we got them covered. Just another interesting little experience in the life of a Catholic.

    p.s. I never knew the status of the Blessed Mother behind the altar in our Lady Chapel was so tall.., or so far off the ground!

  13. OrthodoxChick says:

    I’ve never seen this done in a Catholic church – ever. Never even heard of it. The only thing I’ve seen done is that all flowers are removed from the church either on Maundy Thursday night or early Good Friday morning. So I’m not holding my breath that I’ll see it this year either. But I’ll be happily tap dancing on my earlobes if I get to post again tomorrow that I have been proven wrong!

  14. momoften says:

    Yes, we went through the church this morning removing pictures, covering statues, and the large
    crucifix behind the altar. I hate it but love it. You really don’t realize how much you look and think
    when you see them everyday, then when they are covered…you realize it. Now, to do the house!

  15. Scherzophrenic says:

    All our statues are veiled from Ash Wednesday until the Vigil.

  16. pannw says:

    A couple of weeks ago, Father told me he wanted to veil all our statues for Passiontide, but that it was probably too late for this year. I looked around for purple fabric, and the only place I could find with enough in stock was online, so last Sunday, I brought in my measuring tape and we measured the statues and Crucifixes after Mass. I ordered a ton of purple fabric but it still hasn’t arrived. Still, I’m excited that he wants to do it and we will be ready next year! Deo gratias.

  17. Elizium23 says:

    Our initial schedule has been perturbed by a quick glance at the Ordo. Our pastor attempted to convince our elderly A&E lady to veil the statues today, but he compromised by allowing her to rise extra-early on Monday and do it then.

  18. mpolo says:

    Here in Germany, veiling of crosses is pretty normal, but almost no one veils the statues. (One year I did it, but we now have a larger Mary statue, and no cloth big enough to cover her.)

  19. mpolo says:

    By the way, is it usual to veil the processional cross with white on Holy Thursday? (This is always done at the Chrism Mass here.) On Palm Sunday, I’m assuming the processional cross should be unveiled, right?

  20. Ben Yanke says:

    We have been veiling all the statues for a couple years and will continue to do so.

  21. memoryman says:

    Slightly off topic,but if statues and images are covered then why not the Stations of the Cross?Presumably because this traditional devotion could no longer be practised for the remainder of Lent.Still, it does seem to me to be rather inconsistent.

    [I suppose one could cover the Stations, but… it seems to me that they should be uncovered for use during Passiontide.]

  22. Jerry says:

    re: mpolo – On Palm Sunday, I’m assuming the processional cross should be unveiled, right?


  23. Gratias says:

    In our Novus Ordo parish the crucifix and Mary and Joseph (the sole adornments in our very Vatican II church) are covered from Ash Wednesday to Easter. No Holy water during Lent. [No Holy Water? Still making that deeply stupid mistake? Grrrrr.]

  24. Darren says:

    I was surprised to find nothing covered. Yes, all flowers and other ornamentation was removed, but I think the statues were covered last year. Our previous pastor brought back this practice and I though the new pastor (couple years now) kept it going. Maybe it was the one priest who left last summer who kept it going.

    On another note, I was at Mater Ecclesiae (Berlin, NJ) on Friday for First Friday Mass and Stations (TLM-only church) and they had gotten a head start on covering statues, except the ones in the sanctuary which Father said would until Sunday (or, I guess, Saturday night). Even the statues in the hallways and hidden in corners you might easily miss were covered.

  25. mamajen says:

    All of our statues are covered.

  26. jray says:

    St. Peter Church, Steubenville Oh. All statues covered.

  27. VexillaRegis says:

    Rural parish in Scandinavia: All statues and crucifixes covered.

  28. Netmilsmom says:

    In our tiny little parish of mostly oldsters, none were covered.
    Please pray for a good traditional Croation Priest for our parish.

  29. lizaanne says:

    At Assumption Grotto, all statues and crucifixes covered. Stations of the Cross are uncovered, though I agree with Father, it would make sense during Passiontide to have them viewable for use. I have seen them covered before in other parishes, however.

    God, bless our holy priests!

  30. Bea says:

    All statues are veiled from Palm Sunday until Easter. Except the Sacred Heart which is so high above in the sanctuary that I don’t believe it can even be reached.

  31. momoften says:

    We do have different color covers for Holy Thursday and Palm Sunday for the processional cross.
    White for Holy Thursday, Red for Palm Sunday( for the recessional though not the entrance). Purple was used this weekend. Even the crucifixes statues in the church offices covered, or put
    away. Images are of the saints,Blessed Mother, Sacred Heart…etc….put away.

  32. Michelle says:

    Our statues were covered, but the other images were there as normal and the crucifx was uncovered, although thi may be because it is very high up and might be hard to reach to cover.

  33. mcford1 says:

    Salem OR, largest parish on the West Coast between Seattle and San Francisco: Everything veiled, holy water abundant.

  34. SPWang says:

    Covered SH and OL statues along with the altar crucifix for the 5pm tlm at Wangaratta (http://www.wlms.blogspot.com)…un-covered them afterwards…

  35. Nun2OCDS says:

    In our parish all the statues are veiled. The crucifix atop the tabernacle was replaced by a somewhat ornate cross (no corpus). It seemed out of place. We would have preferred that the crucifix be retained and veiled. Is it correct at a TLM Mass to have such a cross unveiled?

  36. scholastica says:

    After the Sunday Mass today, statues of the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph as well as all crucifixes were covered with purple cloth.
    From The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described by Fortescue, O’Connell, Reid:
    Before the first Vespers of Passion Sunday all statues and images (including crucifixes) in the church which are objects of veneration and not merely ornamental , are to be covered with a plain opaque violet veil. No figure or ornament is allowed on these veils. The images are not to be uncovered for any reason (except the crosses on Good Friday) till the veils are removed at the “Gloria in excelsis” at the first Easter Mass . But the Stations of the Cross may remain uncovered.

    Above is for EF, for OF it would be the 5th Sunday of Lent. I have seen churches which change out veils to red for Palm Sunday and Good Friday, but there seems to be no direction for this. It does say that for Palm Sunday in the EF, the frontal and tabernacle veil only are veiled in violet, covered over in red which is removed after the blessing of Palms and procession into the church. For OF the proper liturgical color is red, so this would not be necessary. Processional cross is unveiled.

    Again from Fortescue et al., regarding Holy Thursday:
    The altar is adorned soberly, and clothed in white; the altar cross is veiled in white. the tabernacle is empty, unveiled, half open; its key at hand. …All things on the credence are covered in a white veil. …Aside in the sanctuary, the processional cross veiled in violet.

  37. frival says:

    St. Patrick’s Parish in Nashua, NH. A glorious Missa Cantata in the presence of the Bishop and yes indeed the statues were veiled. In fact the veiling formed about half of Father’s homily, but I’ll leave that for the I’m sure pending Sunday Sermons post.

  38. L. says:

    Our Diocese’s guidelines state that if a parish wants to veil its statuary, it may do so after the last Mass said for the Saturday and before the vigil Mass for the fifth Sunday of Lent. I like doing it even though veiling the (unfortunate) Risen Christ statue behind the altar requires a tall extension ladder and a long oak stick to install the veil. I thought about veiling the processional cross, but this actually seemed wrong to me, since one has to have a crucifix at Mass. I don’t have to worry about veiling a religious image on the top of the tabernacle because ours has some sort of metal squiggle made with metal sticks that reminds me of the Warner Brothers logo that I used to see years ago on cartoons.

  39. SuzyQ says:

    Not only were the statues in my parish today, but we also got a wonderful explanation of Passiontide and why the statues are covered. Father explained why today is sometimes called Judica Sunday, too.

  40. Dustin and Jamie P. says:

    St. Mary’s in Baltic, CT. Completely Novus Ordo parish, but all statues covered and all images taken down. The children and I also covered all of our home statues and removed all images/crucifixes. What a sad, sad house. But what joy to see it all restored at Easter!

  41. majuscule says:

    A mission church, Sunday Mass only. So I texted Father to see if we should veil–and he replied yes. There was a bit of confusion because someone else thought it was Palm Sunday that we did it.

    So we did it before Mass today.

    I have fond memories from my childhood of purple veiling.

  42. OrthodoxChick says:

    Well, I’m tap dancing on my earlobes after all. I can’t believe it. I went to an evening OF at a parish with folk music and tambourines and for the first time in my life, I saw purple veils! The statues and the crucifix are at least 15-20 feet up, so they were not veiled. But the tabernacle was and both doorways to the sacristy, as well as the candles and part of the ambo. I wouldn’t think you could veil a candle, but I’m not about to complain. Never having seen veils in church before, I wouldn’t know if it was done properly or not, but I’m so impressed that someone gave it their best try and attempted to do it at all. This is really a big deal! Something must have come over someone in this parish because tonight, they even sang the Kyrie – in Greek! I’ve never heard the Kyrie in Greek at this parish. Granted it was a folk version of the Kyrie instead of chant and as such, it sounded a little bizarre (OK, really bizarre), but still. Veils and a Kyrie are definitely steps in the right direction at this parish. Bricklet by bricklet?? Dare I get my hopes up?!

  43. ChristoetEcclesiae says:

    My NO parish covers no statues; I wish we did. The practice seems beautiful and potentially quite spiritually fruitful. We do have holy water until after Mass on Holy Thursday.

    I found a document in the EWTN library stating that, like stained glass windows, the Stations of the Cross should not be veiled or covered during Passiontide. This makes sense to me since Lent is a penitential season, but is not a season that deprives believers of the Church’s very powerful sacraments and sacramentals. It seems to me that veiling everything _but_ the Stations in a church brings the Stations into sharp relief. Their prominence in a church in contrast to all things veiled would tend to focus our attention appropriately during this even more intense period of the Lenten season.

    Bricklet by bricklet?
    That’s how it seems at my parish, too. Thanks for making me grin, and happy tap dancing!

  44. friarpark says:

    Yes, they were veiled at the Mass we attended, but we weren’t at our “home” parish. We were at our “other” parish. I’m pretty sure that the home one did not. They haven’t in recent times. Please pray for our priest at our other parish as he has been ill.

  45. andreat says:

    All statues and images were covered for our EF Mass. Unfortunately, the NO parish that owns the church doesn’t like the veils, so we have to take them down again after Mass.

  46. Jack in NH says:

    Like frival, above, we attended the monthly EF Mass at St. Pats.
    All icons dutifully covered. The Mass was even more notable as our Bishop was in attendance. There was also a group on nuns who were in full habit- real, actual, nuns! Hooray!

    There was a very moving prayer at the end of the service, sung (in English) by a visiting men’s choir.
    I wish I knew what it was, as I wasn’t attempting to discern the words, as I expected them to be in Latin. I think(?) it was a prayer to St. Michael.
    Any help here, frival?

  47. Sword40 says:

    Our Latin Mass group pays rent to a straight OF parish to use their church on Sunday afternoon ($550 per month). We have to tolerate electric candles on the High Altar. (we place two minor candles, real ones, on the Altar. They also have a “clank-bell” sounds like a bell for prize fights. But we got around that one.
    We are not allowed to re-arrange anything. So we put up with it. Nothing was veiled at Mass today.
    Our group runs between 120 to 150 each Sunday, more than the OF parish. We have requested a parish of our own but so far nothing.

  48. JonPatrick says:

    At our church The crucifixes on the main altar and high altar were covered, as well as the picture of the Pelican feeding its chicks with its own blood on the front of the altar, one of my favorite features in this church and one I usually look at whenever I go up for Communion, as a reminder of what is happening at the Mass. The large statues of Mary and Joseph on the side altars were not covered, perhaps impractical due to their size.

    I definitely felt that deprivation not being able to see the Pelican image at communion.

  49. Andrew D says:

    My parish offers a Traditional Latin Mass and the two priests are very devout so yes, all of the statues and crucifixes were covered yesterday. I’m posting though because I received a email yesterday from the Charlotte Latin Mass Society reminding us that we also should cover our personal sacred images and crucifixes as well.

  50. michelekc says:

    They did it for the first time in my memory at the Cathedral in Arlington, VA. I’ve been a parishioner since I was very young (~25 years). I am so delighted because I see this as a good sign: Bishop Loverde, although he has allowed the EF Mass to flourish in our diocese, has not allowed it at the Cathedral yet.

  51. michelekc says:

    I wanted to add that this is the first time they’ve veiled the statues on *Passion Sunday*. In the past they have been veiled from Holy Thursday evening until Holy Saturday afternoon.

  52. frival says:

    Jack in NH: if I’m thinking of the same prayer yes it was the short form of the prayer to St. Michael, sung twice. According to the Una Voce NH site, they believe this to be the first time in 45 years that a Manchester Bishop has presided at an EF Mass. I remain hopeful that between our new(-ish) Bishop and our slowly growing group of seminarians the Extraordinary Form will be able to make a comeback in this Diocese that so desperately needs it.

  53. Gabe says:

    Well, the picture you included in this post is from my parish, the St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis, so as you might guess, yes, the statues are covered.

  54. srlynnmarie says:

    We used to veil the statues but with a new chaplain it all stopped.
    Could you please clarify something for me? I was always taught that each ministry in the church is separate so servers could not read and cantors do not read and vice versa. However, one of our servers regularly reads and has signed up to read several times during the Triduum. Am I wrong in thinking of this distinction? Thanks! [A different topic, no?]

  55. Wiktor says:

    All crosses were veiled (except for one small but inaccessible) but no images nor statues.

  56. Marie Teresa says:

    No statues veiled.

    @Gratias … You have my complete sympathy. We never have Holy Water. We’re not sure why. We’ve asked. Our current pastor just doesn’t provide Holy Water.

  57. M.D. says:

    Jack in NH says:
    Like frival, above, we attended the monthly EF Mass at St. Pats.
    There was a very moving prayer at the end of the service, sung (in English) by a visiting men’s choir. I wish I knew what it was, as I wasn’t attempting to discern the words, as I expected them to be in Latin. I think(?) it was a prayer to St. Michael.

    Jack, my family are also parishioners of St Patricks.

    here is a link to the chant

    We discussed after Mass how powerful that chant was.

  58. jaykay says:

    It used to be always done from “1st” Passion Sunday in my parish, even after the NO was introduced, up until some time in the 80s when it stopped altogether, even in Holy Week. Then they resumed the veiling three years ago, from Palm Sunday. So nothing was veiled last Sunday (5th of Lent) but I am sure it will be done from next Sunday.

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