Hello all

I was wondering what y’alls opinion on wearing a veil/mantilla to Mass. I don’t currently wear one, but I really want to. Also, if i were to start, would I be able to wear it while alter serving or Eucharistic Ministering?

Talk with your priest and follow his instructions.


A very nice idea…:thumbsup:


As a EMCH and lector in the 1980’s, I was told not to wear a headcovering while on the altar. It very much depends on the parish in which you serve.
I am not an EMCH where I currently attend Mass. Here, in my overseas parish, it takes a year of formation to become an EMCH. Those who distribute the Eucharist wear robes over their clothing. A few of the women do wear a mantilla.
As a lector here, I wear a pashmina.
Sometimes scarves have a tendency to slip, and you don’t want that slippage to distract from the task at hand.
As lector, stateside, I have worn a small newscap or beret. Hats are discouraged here.
If you want to wear something on your head while serving, think of a hair ornament, that will not be distracting. A scrunchy, as an example.

You can always wear a bandana. That’s mostly what I saw growing up.

There is also some very good suppliers that provide veils other than the mantilla. A lot of the married Jewish woman here wear a longer version. The Middle Eastern Catholic women that I run into frequently wear the full kit and kaboodle.

If no-one else wears one, it might look as though you were trying to draw attention to yourself. Ask yourself why you want to wear it. Otherwise, if it doesn’t get in the way and you just really like it - why not?
What’s the history of this form of veil for women?

Many women wear a headcovering based on St. Paul’s instructions in the New Testament.
St. Paul urges women to wear a headcovering, while he calls for men to remain bareheaded. His audience was Greek. I don’t know whether or not he would have given different instructions were he speaking to a Jewish audience.
I prefer to use the term “haircovering” to veil. The face is not covered.

Speaking from my own history, before Vatican II, women never entered a church without having their head covered. Generally speaking, the woman would wear a hat or scarf. Toward the mid sixties, women began carrying a mantilla, or chapel cap, in their purses. Hats and scarves were no longer everyday attire. Having the mantilla, or chapel cap in her purse, meant a woman would always have a headcovering with her that she could easily don when entering a Catholic church.

A lacey mantilla can historically be found worn by women in Spain.

I’ve been an EMHC a few times when visiting my home town parish where I grew up (for some holy days and holidays) before I left home after college wearing something on my head. No one has dared to say anything to me about it with the exception of my mother who needs to realize its my thing & I will not be dissuaded from wearing a headcovering of some type.


Extraordinary minister of the Host and Chalice.
Extra as in outside ordaination.
A lay person who has been commissioned, and is not ordained, to distribute the Eucharist.
There are some people on these threads who get upset if you use the term Eucharistic minister, so we use the initials for the more correct term.

Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.

So women can do this?

In the Ordinary Form, yes, women can distribute Communion, and read Scripture, and be a cantor.

They may also serve at the altar but that is at the Bishop’s discretion. If the Bishop allows it he may not impose it on the celebrant. A priest is free to refuse to have female altar servers.

Women may not be Instituted Lectors or Instituted Acolytes, those instituted ministries are reserved to men. During Mass, those ministries are similar to but not identical to readers and altar servers; they involve more preparation and much greater responsibilities outside of Mass.

Actually, women can be lectors. I am currently a lector in the parish to which I belong, and yes that is what we are called. It is what I have been called in every parish to which I belonged since the 1980s. We do not simply read the Word, we proclaim it.
Requirements for lectors in my current parish include a monthly meeting, attending the Deepening of the Faith program, and First Friday Holy Hour.
To become an EMCH requires a year of formation here. Stateside, there were not that many volunteers, so the requirements were not quite so stringent.
What women cannot be is acolytes. While I see girls serving as altar servers, I have not seen women doing likewise. I have, when the priest asked me, lighted the candles before Mass.
Women can even become lay ministers. This is a two year program that allow them to conduct certain liturgical services. Only a priest can preside over a Mass, because only a priest can consecrate the hosts. Reading the gospel is reserved for the ordained priest or deacon.

Wow this is complicated!! How then, do lectors differ from readers, and acolytes differ from servers and why can’t women do these things. Are the reasons the same as for refusing to let women be priests (not sure I’ll ever understand that)? And why would a priest refuse to have female alter servers?

And why would a priest refuse to have female alter servers?

I don’t think this usually happens in the ordinary form. I think in general, males are encouraged to alter serve to encourage them to become priests by giving them the experience of participating in the mass in a special way.

I think this is taking the thread in a different direction from its original purpose.
Most of us don’t actually see acolytes.
I have been commissioned as both an EMCH and lector. “Instituted Lector” is a term with which I am unfamiliar. It may have something to do with the steps a seminarian goes through on his way to becoming a priest. Before final ordaination as a priest, he does serve as a transitional deacon.
The original question had to do with wearing a headcovering while serving.

I usually wear a wide headband, which wears a bit like a bandana. I’m not even sure if most people outside of my home parish realize that I’m covering my head for spiritual reasons. I suspect if you went with something subtle, especially at first, you could serve as an EMHC without anyone thinking twice about it.

Something like this:

Actually, and irrespective of what it may be called in common parlance, (and irrespective of how many parishes use the term incorrectly), no, women **cannot **be Instituted Lectors. A woman can be an EMHC or a reader but NOT an Instituted Lector or Acolyte. **Phemie **is quite correct (emphasis added):

Why would a priest need to instruct a woman in how to dress for Mass, as long as she is not being immodest? Covering one’s head is a personal devotion, much like saying the rosary. I’m not sure why it would be necessary to consult a priest on whether or not it is ok to observe a personal devotional practice.

It’s really quite simple - if you wish to cover your head, then do so.

To the OP:
Please visit our group here on Catholic Answers for women who cover at Mass - Veiled in Grace


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