Since posting a picture on my Facebook page participating the #weartheveil event this past Monday (The Feast of Mary’s Immaculate Conception!), I have received a few requests to discuss the topic of wearing a veil to mass. Where the practice came from, why it fell out of practice, what I think of it, etc.
- I understand it as a beautiful way for a woman to express reverence and humility when entering the space where Our Lord is present.
- I know that a woman covering her head in church is a Biblical practice (stemming from 1 Corinthians 11), which is a nice bonus.
- And frankly, I think that veils are pretty and feminine-looking. (Not to mention, a beautiful way to imitate our Blessed Mother!)
I don’t know the canon law behind it. I don’t know why the “requirement” was done away with. And I really have no idea what it was like to grow up or to raise a family in the Church when the mass was only said in Latin and women always covered their heads in church.
Maybe I would’ve loved it. (I like to think that I would have.) Maybe I would’ve scoffed at being told I “had to” do something a certain way. There’s no way for me to know. I just know that as a 24-year-old woman living in 2014, I can see a lot of beauty in the practice of women “veiling” at mass.
Truth be told, I have only worn a veil to mass on a handful of occasions (another reason I feel under-qualified to be writing this post). Most masses, my “decision” not to wear the veil isn’t so much a conscious choice as it is simply the fact that I am in the habit of not wearing a veil to mass. It always makes me smile to see other women wearing them, though, and I will admit that wearing mine on Monday did re-kindle my attraction to the practice. I’m thankful for being encouraged by the “Wear the Veil” event to do so.
I will end this post by saying that I think that wearing a veil to mass is a beautiful practice, but I also think that God is much more concerned with what is in the hearts of young women than with what is (or isn’t!) on top of our heads. (And I believe most women who choose to veil would be the first to tell you that!)
While what we choose to wear—especially to the Holy Mass—is certainly important, I don’t think that the choice of whether or not to wear a veil to mass ought to be something that robs any Christian woman of her peace. Until canon law tells me otherwise, I’m going to say that the choice “to veil or not to veil” is a decision between you, Jesus, and your spiritual director.
I shared Jennifer Fulwiler’s post on wearing the veil on my Facebook page earlier this week, but if you missed it I am posting the link here again. I think she does a nice job of summing up the beauty and the reverence behind the choice to veil (as well as addressing that concern women often have of not wanting to “stand out” for engaging in a practice that is supposed to be about humility).
Whether or not you choose to wear the veil (or to cover your head in some other manner), I think it’s worth it for any Catholic woman to seek to understand the beauty behind the practice.