Today I went to my usual parish the first time this Lent (last week I went to a different one). And I saw something rather alarming. They had covered the Crucifix, along with the statues of Mary and some saints and a fire statue that is supposed to represent the Holy Spirit, with purple cloths. I did not ask anyone about it but I assume it is for the Lenten season. They have never done this in previous years, and I was very uneasy about it. So were my parents. Is this acceptable, or wrong?
The parish I am attending for lent draped a light, Lacey purple cloth around the crucifix arms, that was all. If I couldnt see Mother Mary, I’d be panicking.
Prior to Vatican II all churches covered statues. In the present directives statues can be covered. It is optional. More parishes seem to be going back to it.
Wow I didn’t know it was an older practice. Seemed like a “new” thing which was worrying me. Thank you for that.
Yes, covering all the statues for all of Lent was a practice when I was much younger. But I don’t think there is provision for that today.
Paschale Solemnitatis says:
57. After Mass (of the Lord’s Supper) the altar should be stripped. It is fitting that any crosses in the church be covered with a red or purple veil, unless they have already been veiled on the Saturday before the fifth Sunday of Lent. Lamps should not be lit before the images of saints.
It doesn’t appear from that that statues and crosses should be covered this year until April 5th.
The church where i grew up did this…sometimes Holy Week, sometimes just Triduum.
That’s just the crucifixes, which should not be covered UNTIL the 5th Sunday.
Covering the statues, however, is entirely optional either way.
There is no requirement that statues be visible in any Church at any time (I think it’s a good thing, sure, but there’s no requirement to have them), so covering them is just a matter of preference.
In fact, the instruction from P.S. says that lights should not be lit in front of images of saints after the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. When I read that, it seems that it’s leaving open the possibility that the statues are not covered at all.
I think the whole covering or not covering statues during Lent is more of a cultural thing.
See Paschale Solemnitatis #29. It leaves the matter open, rather than universal, although if they are covered, they aren’t uncovered again until the Vigil.
What was the original reason/symbolism for the covering of statues during Lent?
" As Monsignor Elliott remarks, “The custom of veiling crosses and images … has much to commend it in terms of religious psychology, because it helps us to concentrate on the great essentials of Christ’s work of Redemption.”
Although this is true, the historical origin of this practice lies elsewhere. It probably derives from a custom, noted in Germany from the ninth century, of extending a large cloth before the altar from the beginning of Lent.
This cloth, called the “Hungertuch” (hunger cloth), hid the altar entirely from the faithful during Lent and was not removed until during the reading of the Passion on Holy Wednesday at the words “the veil of the temple was rent in two.”
Some authors say there was a practical reason for this practice insofar as the often-illiterate faithful needed a way to know it was Lent.
Others, however, maintain that it was a remnant of the ancient practice of public penance in which the penitents were ritually expelled from the church at the beginning of Lent." From here: ewtn.com/library/Liturgy/zlitur72.htm
If I remember correctly, before VII, this was done only the last two weeks of Lent - called Passiontide back then.
The third edition of the Roman Missal includes a rubric about this practice, on the 5th Sunday of Lent. It is stated as an option and includes both crucifixes and other images.
Ours are covered in Holy Week, but not all of Lent.
Our EF parish shares a church with an ethnic OF parish. We are never sure what we’ll find from Sunday to Sunday.
We’ve only been in existence for 2 years. So we are kind of just being grateful to have a place for worship.
I think it must be very beautiful, in a stark and striking way. In my parish, the statues and crucifixes aren’t covered, but there are some beautiful purple banners. I wonder if they will be covered for Passiontide- my pastor and vicar are still relatively new, and very traditional, so I wonder if they’ll opt for this.
Okay so today I attended the Stations of the Cross at a local parish- not my own. The crucifix was draped, but not any of the statues. Also, there was a statue of our Lord lying dead- very beautiful. The statue of Saint Joseph was missing from its usual spot, which I couldn’t understand since it’s the Solemnity of Saint Joseph. Perhaps they had used it in a procession today in his honor? I thought it looked strange to have only the crucifix covered and nothing else.
In my parish we don’t have a large Crucifix on the wall behind the altar, but rather a large statue of the risen Christ. During Lent it is covered with a wide purple drape and a large Crucifix is brought and placed in front of the drape and anchored on a iron and wood pedestal to hold it in place. Years ago the Crucifix was not used. It can be quite inspiring when viewed from the side (I am in the choir and we stand to the side). The drape is a little sheer. So from the side it almost seems like the Risen Christ is the promise behind the crucified Christ.
You’re right. My parish still does it this way.