“Hey Father, did you notice that someone covered the statues in church?” Yes, per the permitted practices of the Church, the 5th week of Lent until the Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday of the Easter Vigil) is known as Passiontide. During these last days of Lent, we are encouraged to unite our hearts and souls more closely to the Lord in His Passion in a special way. The statues and crucifix are covered until the end of the celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday. Images remain covered until the beginning of the Easter Vigil.
So why do we veil statues? Statues are veiled to remind us what it would be like NOT to have the fruits of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus. If our Lord had not died and rose from the grave; there would be no saints, no images of the passion, no images of the Sacred Heart, no Church, no congregation of Faithful. Because we see them so often, these images become “normal” and taken for granted. By veiling them for a short time, we emphasize how exceptional they truly are. We appreciate their Good News afresh. The veiling of statues is another way to fast during Lent.
- We fast from the Alleluia beginning on Ash Wednesday
- We fast from the Gloria during Lent except for Solemnities
- We fast from viewing the crucifix and statues at the start of Passiontide
- We fast from the Sanctus Bells from the Gloria of Holy Thursday to the Easter Vigil
- We fast from Holy Water during the Triduum
- Finally, we are deprived of the presence of the Lord Himself in the Eucharist (we process the Eucharist out of the church at the Holy Thursday Service) and the celebration of Liturgy of the Eucharist in the Holy Mass on Good Friday (the only day of the year when there is no Mass).
All of these holy wonders are restored in glorious fashion – solemnly and progressively – during the Easter Vigil. First the statues. Then the Gloria. Then the bells. Then the Alleluia. Then the Holy Water. Finally, the Holy Eucharist. So many treasures in the sacred liturgy that we come to appreciate more keenly during this holy time of year.
Holy Family, Pray for us.
~ Fr. Gries