April 16, 2011 Leave a comment
As of the 5th Sunday of Lent, we have this custom in our churches to cover and veil the statues of Our Lord, Our Lady and of all the saints. Crosses and crucifixes are also covered during this period up to the Easter Vigil.
This period from the 5th Sunday of Lent through the Holy Week is called Passiontide.
In the past, this was done to make the faithful realize how gloomy it was in days of old during the time Jesus suffered and died for us.
It is also worth remembering that before the 13th century, crosses were bare of the corpus of Jesus Christ. That means, you would not see the body of Jesus hanging on the cross. Instead, what people saw are statues of the Risen Lord.
The veiling of crosses and other images was (and still is) also liturgically sensible. In the liturgy of Good Friday, a crucifix (a cross with a corpus) is unveiled for the people to see and to give homage.
After the Second Vatican Council, the veiling of images is left to the discretion of national bishops’ conferences, e.g. the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. However, in recent practice, it is still up to individual parishes, chapels or oratories to cover the images of the saints or of crucifixes.