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


We are really getting into it now.

From this Sunday, traditionally called 1st Sunday of the Passion, it is customary to veil images in churches.  In the Gospel in traditional Form of the Roman Rite we hear:

Tulérunt ergo lápides, ut iácerent in eum: Iesus autem abscóndit se, et exívit de templo.  … They therefore took up stones to cast at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out from the temple.

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 do this to sense something of the humiliation of the Lord as he enters His Passion, something of His interior suffering.

We are also being pruned during Lent.  From Septuagesima onward we lose things bit by bit in the Church’s sacred liturgy until, at the Vigil, we are even deprived of light itself.  The Church is liturgically dying.

We are our rites.

For this 1st Sunday of the Passion (5th Sunday of Lent) - 2016 - I saw in church that:

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...


My friends at Holy Innocents in Manhattan have their act together. They also have a LOT of statues and images to veil!

Here’s an action shot of the veiling of St. Jude.

Veiling statues for Passiontide (March 12, 2016) at the Church of the Holy Innocents, NYC.

Veiling statues for Passiontide (March 12, 2016) at the Church of the Holy Innocents, NYC.

Veiling statues for Passiontide (March 12, 2016) at the Church of the Holy Innocents, NYC.

Veiling statues for Passiontide (March 12, 2016) at the Church of the Holy Innocents, NYC.

Walk into that church today and you’ll see purple.

More photos from Holy Innocents HERE.

Holy Innocents has a daily news email.  I’m not sure how you subscribe, but I’ll be someone here knows.


St Mary’s in Pine Bluff, WI


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in LENT, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, POLLS, WDTPRS and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. doozer125 says:

    I am an Eastern/Ukrainian Catholic. As far as I know, we do not do this.

  2. Fr. Hamilton says:

    My parish was founded in 1993. This year we covered all crucifixes and statues. Parishioners here since the parish’s founding tell me the parish had never done this before. So this weekend before my homily I am taking a few brief moments to introduce and explain the practice. We must restore Catholic culture (even and especially in the culturally impoverished Ordinary Form)!

  3. majuscule says:

    Our wonderful and very traditional priest asked all three churches to be sure to cover the images for this weekend. Three of us were at our church this afternoon seeing to this. We covered the crucifix above the altar but I see it is not covered in the image in this post.

    Someone long ago (most likely Deacon’s wife, may she rest in peace) sewed up some nice custom fitting covers/veils, making the job easy for us.

    It’s nice to have some confident direction from our priest about this. Some years it has been done hurriedly and probably at the wrong time!

  4. APX says:

    I was actually quite shocked and amazed when I walked into our church this evening… All the statues and crucifix were veiled and the Tabernacle veil returned to the Tabernacle. This has never happened before. In the past, the closest we got to veiled anything for Passion Sunday was our priest removed the top of the Tabernacle and placed a veiled crucifix on top of it. The only thing that would have made it better if they had veiled the Barney Rubble Angel Moronis in the sanctuary. At least they help keep me from looking around during Mass and clearly focused on the altar.

  5. FredDaHead says:

    I voted that my parish has no images or statues, but only because our parish happens to be a deployed warship. Despite the challenges, like the lack of a chapel or reserved space, we’ll still celebrate the Triduum at sea. Visiting countries around the Mediterranean does allow us to see numerous gorgeous churches, though, which is great.

    At my home parish, everything is normally veiled.

  6. Gregorius says:

    A parishioner was kind enough a few years ago to make custom-fit veils for all of our statues.
    The large home-made murals that grace the walls of the sanctuary and nave are not veiled, and logistically are next to impossible to veil in a way that would look good, and not damage the walls.

  7. Gregg the Obscure says:

    The big crucifix over the altar is veiled. The statues over the side altars are not, but the side altars were not lit as usual either.

  8. Phil_NL says:

    In two minds what the proper response should be; plenty of statues were veiled, including the patron saint’s, and the crucifix on the processional cross as well. Then again, plenty were not, including the angels on the tabernacle and the statutes in the side chapels. Probably the selection was made in terms of what could be a fire hazard when veiled with the candles nearby…

  9. Benedicite says:

    Everything that could be veiled was veiled. Ordinariate.

  10. Geoffrey says:

    “No statues or images were covered or veiled.”

    I never see this in my area, except in the extraordinary form. My parish is one of the California missions with a rather large and ornate reredos. You would need to bring in one of those small cherry-pickers to be able to reach all of the statues!

  11. yatzer says:

    All statues and crosses veiled.

  12. Prayerful says:

    Always in both the Indult parish I attend and a nearby Novus Ordo parish. Fine tradition.

  13. rdschreiner says:

    At the Cathedral of St. Paul, only crucifixes at all altars veiled. It makes me wonder what happened to all the veils that must’ve existed at one time for the many statues in the church – did someone throw them out back in the late 60’s?

  14. FloridaJoan says:

    Our statues and crucifix have been covered for at least 2 weeks ( maybe longer )

    pax et bonum

  15. GrumpyYoungMan says:

    Nothing veiled or removed. The two (sigh) statues that are in the church are hardly visible anyway. At least there’s a crucifix in the sanctuary.

  16. AM says:

    Everything that can be veiled was already veiled, in custom made purple, on Ash Wednesday.

    A bit of Sarum, a bit of Rome, I guess.

    They used to dry the stoups for Lent, too, but thankfully that ended years ago.

  17. Jarrod says:

    I had never seen or heard about this before today, but today was my first opportunity to see it in my new parish. Everything, including the crucifixes and stained glass images of saints, was veiled. The veiling of the crucifix was a little jarring given what I have come to understand about the centrality of the crucifixion in the Holy Sacrifice, but overall the effect was as you described.

  18. KateD says:

    Only St. Joseph and the stations were left uncovered. We started prayers in preparation for his feast day:)

  19. VeritasVereVincet says:

    Nothing covered. Not that there’s much: a statue of Mary and one small Marian banner in the side chapel, not counting the Stations and crucifix.

    But hey, at least now we HAVE a statue! Last year I had to vote that we didn’t. Praying that this year they leave the corpus on the cross after Lent instead of replacing it with the usual resurrexifix…

  20. a catechist says:

    All statues and crucifixes veiled at Cathedral of the Epiphany in Sioux City, Iowa, USA. Also the two shrines had the triptychs folded closed, the Vietnamese martyrs and Our Lady of Guadalupe.

    This was at an NO Mass, where music included Gorczycki and de Victoria, and some chant of the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin, the Kyrie in Greek.

  21. Knittingfoole says:

    Nothing veiled. Sigh. The big “Resurrectifix” behind the altar in full display, I really feel like putting something on poor Jesus, it really looks like His…errr… loincloth? is about to fall off.

  22. jaykay says:

    No, nothing veiled as yet in my church, although up to the 80s they still kept up the tradition of veiling from First Passion Sunday – and many of the covers were beautifully tailor-made for individual statues etc. Then it fell into disuse all through the 90s and 2000s, when there was no veiling whatsoever, until 2011 when it was reinstated from Palm Sunday (the old covers appear to have gone, and it’s now just swathed material – but great to see it anyway!). So we’ll have veiling from next Sunday for Holy Week.

  23. Sonshine135 says:

    Some of our statues were veiled (the main ones of Mary and Joseph holding the baby Jesus). Also the Crucifix at the altar. In our church, we tend to slowly veil all the statues over the next two weeks. The minor statues will likely be veiled by Palm Sunday along with the processional crucifix. We are slowly being starved.

  24. Titus says:

    I put “everything,” but we have two reredos-mounted statutes and several reliefs that we couldn’t get veiled for practical reasons, and an Infant of Prague that, well, kind of got forgotten (or we assumed the sacristan would just move him, but nobody told the sacristan that). But it was a good first effort.

  25. JCF says:

    Nothing veiled at the cathedral in Albany, NY yesterday.

  26. Lirioroja says:

    The Latin Church has the custom if veiling images during Passiontide. AFAIK this doesn’t exist in the Christian East, certainly not in the Byzantine Churches. In the Russian Catholic chapel where I attend Sunday Divine Liturgy the icons where exposed and available for veneration as usual.

    At the Latin Catholic parish I sing at no images were veiled, nor have they ever been in the almost nine years I’ve been singing for Mass there. They only celebrate the Novus Ordo Mass. They used to dry out the holy water fonts too, but thankfully that practice ended.

  27. Thom says:

    NO parish – everything veiled except the Stations of the Cross. We resurrected this custom several years ago, and it never fails to provoke discussion – almost universally good – amongst the folks in the pews.

  28. Nicholas says:

    I entered some for the poll. We have a baldacchino here at Thomas Aquinas College which was not covered. I presume this is normal. We also had a single statue of Mary that is uncovered. All else, however, is.

  29. Mike says:

    I m curious – if the purpose of the veiling is to help us focus our attention on the impending Passion and Death of Christ – why is the crucifix covered?

  30. jaykay says:

    So, last Monday I commented: “So we’ll have veiling from next Sunday for Holy Week.”

    Except, we didn’t. No veils today. I get to leave the collection from the choir gallery in to the Sacristan, after Mass, so I asked him. His answer was that he’d been told to put them up from tomorrow. And he gets hus orders from the parish priest, of course.
    Better than nothing, I suppose, but why do they think they can just make it up as they go along? It was done properly in previous years. Either do it properly or don’t do it at all.

Comments are closed.