Statues in Church Cloaked


I was wondering why the statues in church this week were covered in purple cloakes? I am converting to Catholicism (I’ll go through RCIA next year) and I grew up going to Catholic schools (looong time ago) but I don’t remember the statues of Jesus and Mary being cloaked.

Thank you in advance for your help!

It’s traditional to cover the statues and crosses during Lent. For the last 30+ years it usually only starts today, as we are celebrating the 5th Sunday in Lent starting this evening. It doesn’t really have to happen until after Holy Thursday. But some parishes, including mine, seem to follow the tradition that I grew up with in the 50s to start the veiling on Ash Wednesday.

Understood that it is a tradition. But why are they covered?

Perhaps this link might help.

It’s Passiontide. If you want a real informative reason with the history and what have you:

people with better memories may correct me, but at least where I grew up, in the former rite, the Passion was proclaimed on the 5th Sunday of Lent, Passion Sunday (the 6th Sunday was Palm Sunday) and the statues and crucifix were veiled before that reading, until the Easter Vigil.

In Hungary back at least to the XVI century this coming Sunday (the 5th of Lent or traditionally Passion Sunday) is called Black Sunday.

The corpses on the crosses were covered by black clothes, until Good Friday’s adoration of the cross. I do not remember covering of the statues.

The reason goes back to the Medieval eves, when the corpses were decorated by diamonds and precious stones, and people considered them inappropriate while preparing to the passion of Christ.

Yep, it’s all in the blog link I posted. Very informative.

My 1950 St Joseph missal has the reading of the Passion on Palm Sunday. The Passion Sunday Gospel is John 8, 46-59.

It never made sense to me why we didn’t have the Passion as the Gospel on Passion Sunday.

links very helpful thanks sometimes I don’t know what I really remember
I thought there were 3 proclamations of the Passion, 5th Sun, Palm Sun, and Good Friday, but there was also more than one service Good Friday, one the long traditional one with all those prayers and kneeling, the other later just STations (maybe that was for the school kids)

why do I have a memory of red veiling for the crucifix?

Check out this excellent article explaining why this is done.

My missal has Matthew’s Passion on Palm Sunday, Mark’s on Holy Tuesday, Luke’s on Holy Wednesday, and John’s on Good Friday.

I remember being surprised by a red veiling for the crucifix once; so don’t think it was standard. It seemed quite fitting. It may have been only for the Friday unveiling.

Traditionally the Passion of

Matthew was read on Palm Sunday

Mark on Tuesday of the Holy Week

Luke on Wednesday of the Holy Week

John on Good Friday

This is in the 1962 Mass too.

For the Holy Triduum there was the Tenebrae (the Matins and Laud from the office) anticipated in the previous afternoon, the Mass in Holy Thursday and Saturday was in the morning, also the Liturgy on Good Friday (with the Passion of John) in the morning. This was changed in 1955

In Hungary there was a process for the Resurrection on the evenings before Easter until 1955, when it was replaced in some places combined by the Easter Vigil liturgy and Mass

In the church today i saw that the cruicifixes, the Holy Virgin Mary statue and all pictures were covered up in violet until long friday eve-easter eve morning-day.

Im up with that all well as our chaplain explained this carefully during his homily.

My questions are these:

  1. Should i cover up my table crucifix at my adoration table, my Holy Virgin Mary statue as well as the crucifix on the wall?
  2. Or is this just strictly limited to the churchroom?

I ask, as this is my first Lent-Easter as catholic (and i still got much much to learn) and wish to do things right, obedient and according to the canon low.

This might look silly, but im taking a chance and asking. Any insight and help is greatly appreciated. Happy Passion Sunday everyone. :blush:

Thank you so much for your responses and resources! I have learned so much and was better able to explain to my son why they were covered this morning in church.

Thank you!

Well, im not happy as i have got no answers and for some reason my thread has been merged into this one.

I did not ask for that to happen…

Hi Padraig,

I do hope that someone can provide the answers to your questions. I found them very interesting and would like to know as well.

Have a blessed day!

I was raised in Catholic environment, crucifixes everywhere, and do not recall any memories, that crucifixes outside the church would be covered. Also i do not remember any covering of the statues in the Church neither outside the US. Only the crucifixes.

As a matter of fact in my (otherwise very reverent) church. I felt uneasy, that statues and pictures were covered, but the statues of the 4 angels, also the frescoes on the wall were left uncovered. What is the message?

Our chaplain said during his homily that it was for keeping simple, plain and minimalistic as a part of suffering up to Easter eve.

It gives me a strange feeling. One of admiration, love, respect and curiousity at the same time.

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