Passiontide – Veiling of images in churches

We with Vespers today we have arrived at Passiontide.

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.

And so, on this Sunday, the Church traditionally hides the Lord and other images with veils, usually purple.

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 so she can enter the tomb with her Lord and rise with Him.

Last year at St. Mary’s in Pine Bluff.


Later, I’ll post a POLL about this.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Philmont237 says:

    “The Church is liturgically dying so she can enter the tomb with her Lord and rise with Him.”

    Could this be happening in the Church at large, and not just during Lent? Are we preparing to enter the tomb with Christ since the Church has been liturgically dying for fifty years? Will we suffer and die with Christ as a Church during some sort of great tribulation, and rise again in a new age of Catholic Christendom?

  2. PatriciusOenus says:

    What about veiling in the home? or elsewhere, like a classroom or hospital lobby?

    We have a custom of putting away our icons and our statue of the BVM. This year we purchased purple duck-cloth to cover our larger items.

  3. Fr. Kelly says:

    Just returned from church, where, with the help of one of the ladies of the parish, I just finished veiling the images in church.
    We have a newly acquired statue of the the Immaculate Heart of Mary this year, so we had to use pins and purple cloth, since we don’t have a cover made for her yet.

  4. APX says:

    For the first time in the 8 years I’ve been at my parish, the statues were veiled for Mass. (our compromise with the English Mass is the the past was to veil them after Mass).

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