When you enter a Catholic church in Passiontide, what leaps out at you is that all the statues and religious images are veiled in purple cloths. When the veiling of images began in the tenth century, it was part of something even more striking: a large veil completely separated the main altar from the rest of the church.
This became the custom throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. It is still the custom in some parts of Austria and Germany, where the huge veil is known as the fastentuch, the “fasting cloth.” Continue reading “Lenten veils are a bigger deal than you think”
Yesterday I had to take my daughter out of CCD class to bring her to Mass for Ash Wednesday. Tina, at six years old, is no fan of the sacred liturgy: she dozed through most of it, and I had to wake her up for the reception of ashes. But she had made it clear that leaving her in CCD where she wouldn’t get the ashes would be a ba-a-a-ad idea, and as she walked back to the pew with a smudge on her forehead she just lit up.
My theory: She never gets to receive communion, so getting something along with everyone else makes her feel big. Continue reading “The Ash Wednesday Riddle”