When to start veiling?


I will be joining the church with my husband this Easter, and have felt a strong pull to veil. Our parish is tiny and there are a few women who veil, but I don’t know them well yet and have been timid to approach them for more info about veiling as it’s really quite a personal thing and I don’t want to be annoying. That’s obviously my own neurosis speaking - I’m sure they would be very nice, but even so I’m not sure they could answer this particular question.

I would like to start participating in the mass with my veil as soon as it would be appropriate to do so. Would it be appropriate to veil at the Easter vigil when I officially become Catholic, or should I wait until the next mass that I attended after that, which would be the first full mass in which I am a Catholic? I’m trying to be as respectful as possible to the traditions and the etiquette of mass participation, so it feels pretty important for me to figure this out.

Thanks so much. xx


I’d suggest talking to your priest, but I doubt anyone is going to give you grief either way. Most people accept that veiling (or not) is up to the individual so I doubt anyone is going to give you the stink eye.


Really, whenever you want. There’s nothing special about a veil—it’s no different from a hat. Feel free to wear one now if you’d like.


I’d read on a blog, or maybe a different forum, a while back about how you shouldn’t veil at mass unless you’re Catholic and to those women in the conversation, it seemed to be quite a serious deal. I don’t know what the basis of the argument was, but given how fresh I am to the faith, I felt there was a need to dive deeper and just make sure I’m being as respectful as possible when participating in this way.

I’m also a serial over-thinker, so there’s that.

Anyway, completely fair suggestion to defer to our priest about it. I’m not worried about stink eyes so much as I just want to fully understand these traditions.

Thanks for the advice!


One of the things to be wary of as you enter the Church is that a LOT of people will take their personal opinions and try to sell it to you as the “official” stance of the Church or something, and that if you don’t buy into their spiritual practice, you’re not really Catholic. If you feel called to veil and that it increases your devotion at Mass, veil. If someone has a problem with it, that’s their problem, not yours.

(I’m not scolding you, of course. Your desire to make sure you’re respecting the norms of the Church is commendable. Just don’t let people sell you on their personal hang-ups.)


Absolutely. I really appreciate the insight & encouragement.


Just so you know, there’s really no concept of “veiling” for laywomen in the Church. The old requirement and tradition was simply to cover your head. Some women wore hats, some wore mantillas. In no way did it convey that the woman was Catholic—it was expected of any woman who entered a church.

So if you want to wear a head covering—hat, headband, mantilla, whatever—feel free!


There are likely blogs out there that will say that every woman, Catholic or not, should cover their head in a Catholic church, and other blogs that probably say that no woman should cover their head at all.

The Church doesn’t have any official rules whatsoever on head covering for women, so you can do what you wish. If other women want to do something else, that’s their preference.


There are Protestant churches where the tradition is for women to cover their heads. I don’t think that being Catholic is necessary.

I would recommend getting over your timidity and approaching the ladies who use headcoverings in your parish. I would also recommend making friends with any woman in your parish who seems nice, whether or not she uses a headcovering. Don’t make your decisions based on internet articles and forums–talk to real-life people in your church.


I think they might be very happy to speak to you about veiling. They might actually be better to answer your question, being members of the parish.

I am not sure if you will get the answer you are looking for here at CAF. I cover with either a hat or a veil but I am not sure what the etiquette is when you are joining the Church. Just a suggestion, you might try contacting places like Veils by Lily or Silver Hill Treasures who would be better able to explain what and when the proper etiquette for a wearing a veil is when coming into the Catholic church.

God bless.


Just to note that if she asks other places, she’ll be getting their personal opinions on “proper etiquette”, as there is no official Church teaching or even official Church “etiquette” on women’s head coverings nowadays.


I think the key thing here in your comment, is “nowadays”, in which I would agree there hasn’t been any Church etiquette for veiling since around 1970.

I guess I understand her as wanting to know what is etiquette based on the historical traditions of the Church. This is what many women who want to veil or cover are interested in knowing as we see some of this returning. I don’t think that Veils by Lily or Silver Hills Treasures would be just giving opinions but would be more able to tell her what women traditionally had done in her situation prior to women not wearing any type of head covering. They have a lot of answered questions regarding veils and head coverings at their website. They are very good Catholic sites.


If you want to veil, go for it.

There are a number of women who veil in my novus ordo parish. No big deal.


I think you should veil at Easter Vigil. I will buy you one. :wink:


I am starting to feel quite silly for coming here with this question. I know I should talk to the people of my parish about this, and it’s completely fair to suggest that I get over my timidity, which is what a lot of this is about.

You have to understand that a little over a year ago, I was an atheist utterly clueless about the Catholic Church and more or less about Christ’s teachings. Having come from that place, with a real admiration now for Traditional Catholicism, all I am trying to do is accumulate knowledge about the traditions and customs, and partipate in them honestly and appropriately as to not offend God or the norms of the Church. As active as I have been in RCIA and reading and learning outside of it, the Church and the richness of its traditions are vast and take a long time to understand, which is why it’s interesting for me to come here with questions like this, outside of my teeny tiny parish.

Anyway, I thank you all for your advice and know full well that there is nothing doctrinal about laity and head coverings. That being said, there still seem to be certain traditions and etiquettes associated with wearing them that I want to know as much about as I can before participating.


Thanks, bud. I appreciate you. :stuck_out_tongue:


Unless I am behind a computer, I am a pretty timid person also, so I can relate to that.

I think that is awesome and it is something that many women seem to be choosing to do today.


I am not sure what the OP means by veils. I think that veils that go over the face are only for funerals. Head coverings that cover the hair are traditional.


The problem with this is, the person is a catechumen.

She needs to know what the policy of the Church is now, not pre-Vatican II. She is obviously concerned with doing things correctly.

We see many incidents on CAF of somebody who is a catechumen or new to the Church becoming confused as to what is opinion - even opinion based on some past tradition - and what the Church actually requires. We had this problem most recently in the “cross arms and go up for a blessing” thread where a person in RCIA had somehow been misled into thinking that going up for a blessing was not permitted because a subgroup within the Church don’t like the practice, and was about to “correct” her RCIA instructor.

We need to be very careful when providing answers to people who are new to the faith so they don’t confuse a preference or an opinion with a Church rule or requirement. Otherwise, they just get very confused when they meet 5 other people who are seemingly ignoring this “rule”.


So, I completely agree with this and understand that she is a catechumen. It appears from her last post that she understands that there is nothing doctrinal about head coverings presently in the Church but is just wanting to know if she is to choose to wear a head covering what is the proper times and places to do that. That is why I do not believe she will get a good answer here at CAF. The opinions will be too vast, some supportive but also some hostile toward veils, so rather she will get better answers from someone who deals with and answers these type of questions more frequently.

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