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

ChurchFrom 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. OrthodoxChick says:

    I finally am able to vote “all or most” for this poll, Thanks be to God!

  2. Robbie says:

    I attended the Vigil Mass for this week and the statues were not covered, at least not yet. That doesn’t mean they weren’t covered beginning today, Sunday. The church does offer the TLM. I’ll know one way of the other next week.

  3. Sliwka says:

    Father, you are missing an option: My parish has no images or statues *sigh*

  4. Andrew says:


    You beat me to it: I was about to say the same thing.

  5. andia says:

    One parish had all of them covered, except the stained glass windows ( all saints and Our Lady) and the other had all of them done.

  6. APX says:

    For the first time this year they are. We share a parish with the OF and in the past it never happened until Holy Week.

  7. HeatherPA says:

    Our parish has them all covered.

    Are home statues to be covered as well, Father?

  8. momoften says:

    Heather, yes, cover them or put them away. Our pastor instructed us to years ago, and ever since the kids came home and did it. I hated it (but in a good way). My youngest went over to his grandpas and said, hey-when are you covering your statues? He volunteered to do it for him. Our church is blanketed with purple, the hall, the offices, and the chapel. Do it, and you will realize how much the
    pictures and statues mean to you. It makes you realize how empty life would be without those things at home.

  9. Kathleen10 says:

    We covered ours, based on this post and the comments. Thank you Fr. Z. Questions, this includes our crucifix, I imagine?
    When do we take the covers off?
    I like this, but I miss them already. We have a beautiful, old statue of St. Anthony holding the Child Jesus, that was probably brought to the U.S. by my husband’s grandmother from Italy. We cherish it and it is always in a place of honor in our home.
    This is a good practice.

  10. truthfinder says:

    Hmm, I think the internet just ate my response, so at the risk of double posting, here goes again. My regular parish had the the statues and images covered. My territorial parish has had everything, except the resurrexifix and the stations, covered since the first week of lent. They also have random purple banners (nothing on them) hanging from the ceiling. I’ll have to see if they’ve covered the cross this week. That being said, I really wish both these churches (all churches) would actually use a tabernacle veil – gahh!

  11. JBS says:

    Are there any episcopal conferences that have voted not to permit this practice?

  12. momoften says:

    Our parish uncovers the statues just before the Mass on Holy Saturday. I usually unveil after Mass or Easter Sunday morning. This practice should really be promoted more.

  13. L. says:

    There is a man who is considered by some (including me) to be slightly crazy because he (me, actually) uses a 20′ extension ladder and a 12′ long oak stick to cover the risen Christ statue on the back wall of our church. We cover five other statues as well, but don’t cover the stations. Our pastor suggested to me covering the processional cross but that seemed to defeat its purpose. We don’t cover the tabernacle since it has no recognizable symbol on it. There is some stylized thing on top of it that might represent fire or something like that, but which reminds me of nothing so much as the Warner Brothers symbol I used to see in Bugs Bunny cartoons. [I think the processional cross should also be covered.]

  14. Charles E Flynn says:

    Many interesting details:

    Covering of Crosses and Images in Lent

  15. melanie says:

    I am grateful to our priest, Fr. David, who veiled all our (numerous) statues. And he was up until 1am last night doing it. Thank your priest if they have gone to this effort for you!

  16. mysticalrose says:

    My very reverent NO parish had all of its statues covered today.

  17. rdschreiner says:

    At the Cathedral of St. Paul, only crucifixes covered, which included the processional cross. Makes me wonder what priest made the call in the past to discard the veils for all the statues for the various chapels or whether they are still around someplace (I’m guessing they’ve been discarded) and just not used.

  18. APX says:

    For some reason, our processional cross wasn’t covered, but I think that was an accidental forgetfulness of whomever is in charge of that, or ignorance.

  19. Chuck says:

    My parish did not veil any images, but yesterday I visited St. Polycarp in Smyrna Delaware which had.

  20. drwob says:

    Visiting Paris, I attended an EF Missa Cantata today at St. Germain l’Auxerrois (on Place de Louvre). Nothing veiled. But the Church was full (of locals, not tourists). No complaints here!

  21. SPWang says:

    We share a parish Church so we cover the statues before Mass and remove the covers afterwards…

  22. jfk03 says:

    We do not veil icons in the Byzantine Catholic tradition. The East was greatly affected by iconoclasm, so the instinct is to display images of saints, who are our companions in the Kingdom. An icon of St Mary of Egypt was venerated during today’ Divine Liturgy.

  23. ckdexterhaven says:

    Good news bad news…yes the statues were covered. Bad news, we had to sing Seed, Scattered and Sown.

  24. Latin Mass Type says:

    Altar crucifix, statues of Sacred Heart, Our Lady plus the processional cross all covered.

    Not only are they covered but I helped! Since we only have Sunday Mass we did it on Friday after Stations of the Cross. Years ago someone sewed custom coverings for them from purple cloth so it’s not a difficult task. Except you need a ladder for the crucifix because it’s large and high up.

    I realized that we also have pictures of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Divine Mercy. So before Mass I removed them from view because we have no coverings for them.

  25. Latin Mass Type says:

    ckdexterhaven–we also sang Seed Scattered and also If a Grain of Wheat…

    Must be something in the air!

    Obviously not an Extraordinary Form Mass!

  26. Latin Mass Type says:

    Sorry, Unless a Grain of Wheat.

  27. TawdryPenitent says:

    All statues veiled including the processional cross and the tabernacle in the most beautiful deep, dark and rich purple. It was stunning.

  28. scholastica says:

    I do the covering at my small parish. I covered the processional cross and the large crucifix over the altar, also Joseph and Mary statues. I didn’t cover the Divine Mercy image in sanctuary/confessional as I didn’t have the heart to do so. I just read in Fr. McNamara’ s letter linked in combox here that processional cross should not be veiled, partly because it is used in Palm Sunday procession. It is carried at our church, but veiled. Some places change the veils to red for Palm Sunday, but I haven’t seen that indicated in liturgy books. I had Elliott’s book, but gave it away to a priest, so now I can’t look it up.

  29. churchlady says:

    Statues, crucifix, altar cross, and processional cross all covered. Statues in the sacristy and the parish office all are covered also. It is always a bit unnerving to walk into the church and not have the images available, such an emptiness and it helps us rejoice when they are again available to us at Easter.

  30. Adrienne Regina says:

    This morning, I set my computer desktop background with this photo from Vultus Christi

  31. Adrienne Regina says:

    Should have added that I also set the photo to fill the screen. It looks perfect …

  32. otsowalo says:

    All our images were covered except for the 20-foot Our Lady of Fatima behind the altar.

  33. iamlucky13 says:

    Novus Ordo parish. Crucifix, Mary, and Joseph were veiled. I didn’t think to notice if the Stations of the Cross were veiled.

  34. akp1 says:

    NO parish, all covered, but then again, I organised it :)

  35. Skeinster says:

    EF parish. Everything in the church was veiled, except for the Stations. The large statue of Our Lady in the parish hall was not, but the Legion of Mary was using it on Saturday, so that may be a factor.

    In other news, we had a large, wonderfully decorated and plentifully supplied St. Joseph’s table this year, to everyone’s edification and enjoyment. It’s good to be a Catholic!

  36. PapalCount says:

    Parish church on Bimini island in The Bahamas….all statues covered and also the altar cross and processional cross.

  37. SanSan says:

    Passion Sunday Meditation……Don’t miss this! Thank you Near Sister……I sent this to everyone I love then attended TLM that happens locally once a month.

  38. dans0622 says:

    I went to a new parish church. Thinking about it now, I don’t recall seeing any images. The only thing covered was my face, in response to some liturgical oddities….

  39. kylie says:

    I voted “No statues were covered or veiled” because we don’t have any statues or images in our church :(

  40. little women says:

    This issue emphasizes, again, some of the problems of the two rites (yes, yes, I know, different expressions of the same right) sharing a church. In the older Latin Mass, yes, the statues should be covered. But at our parish, the Novus Ordo always takes precedence, and so the statues will not be covered until next week. Something always comes up every month or so that is a glaring reminder of the differences. I don’t know how many times we’ve had to put up with a green altar cloth (well, tablecloth) when the season, for us, had turned Violet. (We finally figured out a solution to this, albeit, not quite ideal… frontals attached with velcro. That way, we don’t get in trouble by the lady who dresses the altar when we touch her work of art.)

  41. JesusFreak84 says:

    Another option: “Eastern Rite, N/A”

  42. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    I like veiling statues. Really, I do. It’s so Catholic. But it reminds a bit of the little old lady in the neighborhood who, if she did not get what she prayed for, faced her Madonna to the wall till she came around. :)

  43. Thom says:

    Our parish celebrates the Ordinary Form, and all of our statues were veiled, including the processional Crucifixes.

    The Stations of the Cross were NOT veiled, but I think that’s appropriate as this devotion has a particularly Lenten character and will be publicly celebrated in the church next Friday.

    I do have a question that perhaps someone here can help me with. In the rubrics for Palm Sunday procession, we find this: “an acolyte or another minister, carrying a cross decorated with palm branches according to local custom”.

    My question is: is this processional cross to be veiled?

  44. We cover them all, including the processional cross. As we have lots of statues, there are lots of purple “ghosts” all around the church. I referenced it in my homily, explaining that it’s another form of fasting, and a kind of dying. Gee, I wonder where I got that idea?

  45. Harold says:

    All crucifixes were covered but none of the statues. I think that is due to a lack of veils to cover the statues. Is any special cloth needed or can I just buy any purple cloth?

  46. harrythepilgrim says:

    Early Mass at OF parish; no statue covers.
    1:00 p.m. EF Mass at OF parish; no statue covers.
    Monday morning Mass at SSPX chapel: statues and crucifix were covered.

  47. ManyMacarons says:

    At a parish we don’t frequent much, unless needed…like yesterday. We noticed that the church hadn’t covered anything. But in fact dressed up St Joseph for his feast and left it that way for Sundays Mass, the statue sits 2 feet away from the Tabernacle. Music was blaring like usual, nothing new.
    Needless to say my Husband felt compelled to “celebrate” with covering our images.

  48. Only the processional crucifix was veiled at my parish yesterday.

  49. So…with the processional cross veiled, is it unveiled for Palm Sunday — when, as I recall, it’s to be festooned with palm branches?

  50. ASPM Sem says:

    The seminary covered everything, including statues and images in the narthex/lobby.

  51. Austin says:

    Some Anglo-Catholic churches I used to go to when an Anglican veiled in purple on Passion Sunday and then successively red on Palm Sunday, white on Maundy Thursday, and black on Good Friday. I have never seen that elsewhere, and getting it done was a great deal of work. Dramatically effective, I thought.

    Is this holy showing off, reflective of a tradition of any standing, or just plain wrong? Anyone know?

  52. Kathleen10 says:

    That’s pretty funny Dr. Peters. She put the Blessed Mother in a time-out!

  53. Darren says:

    At Mater Ecclesiae everything was covered, even the processional Crucifix. Even Father’s vestments were not as lacy and ornate as usual.

  54. ladykathryn says:

    Harold, and others, asking about how to make the veils for statues and sacred images: I bought a bolt of purple cotton fabric at a local fabric store to make my parish’s veils. Many of the veils are sewn like pillowcases (two pieces of fabric, sewn up three sides and hemmed) (the top corners are strategically pinned back when placed on the statue) , others are just lengths of fabric pinned about a statue. The angels at the high altar are holding electric candelabras, so this method works well for them.

    The veils for the large, almost life-sized statues on the side altars are sewn like pillow cases, but are also slit part way up the back to facilitate removal during the Gloria of the Easter Vigil.

    We don’t veil the Stations of the Cross. We do veil the processional crosses in purple. They are also tied with a gold tassel. Palms will be stuck in the tassels on Palm Sunday. They will be covered in white veils for Holy Thursday and the veils removed after that service.

  55. Per Signum Crucis says:

    Interestingly, at the Requiem Mass for King Richard III at Holy Cross Priory in Leicester, UK, yesterday, the processional crosses were not veiled even though the Preface of the Lord’s Passion I was used. Today, when the Friars processed the short distance to the city’s Anglican cathedral to sing Vespers at the king’s coffin, the processional cross was veiled.

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