The Veils of Passiontide

In the traditional Roman liturgical calendar, the final two weeks before Easter Sunday are known as Passiontide and a beautiful tradition unfolds at this time whereby statues and other sacred images are veiled.

Practically speaking, this veiling is prepared prior to the First Vespers of Passion Sunday (i.e. Saturday) and continues until the Gloria of the Easter Vigil, but what is its meaning and symbolism? The Catholic Encyclopedia comments accordingly:
The crosses are veiled because Christ during this time no longer walked openly among the people, but hid himself. Hence in the papal chapel the veiling formerly took place at the words of the Gospel: "Jesus autem abscondebat se." Another reason is added by Durandus, namely that Christ's divinity was hidden when he arrived at the time of His suffering and death. The images of the saints also are covered because it would seem improper for the servants to appear when the Master himself is hidden (Nilles, "Kal.", II, 188).
It must be noted as well that this veiling also has the effect of making the Easter Vigil that much more dramatic when the veils are finally lifted at that time.

Here are a few examples of this wonderful tradition.

San Gregorio dei Muratori, Rome
The Birmingham Oratory 
St. John Cantius, Chicago
Institute of Christ the King, Nimes, Sainte-Eugenie
Side altars of Ss. Trinita, Rome

Join in the conversation on our Facebook page.