What’s up with the purple coverings?

You may have noticed something different at Mass last weekend.


I’ve had a few questions on the “whys” so I did a little research to satisfy our curiosity.

“Why purple?” is easy since it’s the liturgical color of the season and is always associated with the somber, penitential character of Lent.

unveilingIn answer to “Why do it at all?,” I always thought of it as just one more form of fasting that we take on as Holy Week draws near and our efforts at penance naturally intensify, but I did find another answer which connects this practice to Good Friday.  The simple version is that part of the Good Friday service involves the unveiling of a crucifix and it just makes more sense to unveil something that has been veiled.

EWTN adds an answer to the “Why now?” question:

The custom of veiling the images during the last two weeks of Lent hails from the former liturgical calendar in which the Passion was read on the Fifth Sunday of Lent (hence called “Passion Sunday”) as well as on Palm Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week, and Good Friday.

For this reason the period following the Fifth Sunday of Lent was called Passiontide.

If you would like to read a more in-depth article on this topic, I recommend this one.

One comment

  1. Thanks for the explanation and links – my kids were asking about it at Mass this past weekend and I totally forgot to check into the “why” when we got home. Thanks for doing the work for me – and reminding me to talk to the kids about it!

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