“Veils over sacred images keep our minds on the promise of Easter.”
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As you enter the Church, you may have observed some things are missing: the holy water, no bells, we don’t sing the Glory. We just celebrated Laetare Sunday and now we are in the second part of lent. This weekend, more things will be missing. In these next 14 days, please take a moment to look at your surroundings. All the crucifixes, statues, and other sacred images are covered in purple veils.
The following text is excerpted from an online article by Philip Kosloski at www.aleteia.org Why do Catholics cover crucifixes and statues during Lent.
“The Catholic Church recommends this practice to heighten our senses and build within us a longing for Easter Sunday. Crosses remain covered until the end of the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday, but images remain covered until the beginning of the Easter Vigil.”
But why go through such lengths to cover up images that are designed to raise our hearts and minds toward heaven?
First of all, we use veils to alert us of the special time that we are in. When we walk into church and notice everything is covered, we immediately know that something is different. These last two weeks of Lent are meant to be a time of immediate preparation for the Sacred Triduum and these veils are a forceful reminder to get ready.
Secondly, the veils focus our attention on the words being said at Mass. When we listen to the Passion narrative, our senses are allowed to focus on the striking words from the Gospel and truly enter into the scene.
Third, the Church uses veils to produce a heightened sense of anticipation for Easter Sunday. This is further actualized when you attend daily Mass and see the veils each day. You don’t want them to be there because they are hiding some very beautiful images.
And therein lies the whole point: the veils are not meant to be there forever. The images need to be unveiled; it is unnatural for them to be covered. The unveiling before the Easter Vigil is a great reminder of our own life on earth. We live in a “veiled” world, in exile from our true home. It is only through our own death that the veil is lifted, and we are finally able to see the beauty of everything in our lives.
God Bless, Fr. Steven
Father Steven Clemence