Why Do We Veil the Cross and Statues During Lent?

The season of Lent was originally a season in which people who had been expelled from the congregation because of their notorious sins were given a chance to confess their sins, do penance, and be reconciled to the company of the faithful at the Easter Vigil. As the season evolved, it became a time when all Christians were asked to confess their sins, do penance, pray and do good works, and so recommit themselves to Christ and the Church in order to celebrate the joys of the Resurrection of Christ as fully reconciled children of God.

In the ninth century, it became customary to veil the High Altar during the season of Lent as a visual reminder of how our sins separate us from God. This custom continues in some places, but in most places the custom was modified and only crosses and statues were covered.

Veiled crosses and statues are a visual reminder of the penitential nature of Lent. When we enter the church and see the veils we instantly feel the unnaturalness of hiding these beautiful images which are meant to be a conduit through which we experience a glimpse of God’s beauty. This calls to mind the unnatural blindness that sin brings to us: Sin hides the beauty of God in the world and in our hearts. Sin places a pall over all of creation obscuring from our sight the true presence and glory of God that permeates our lives. We remove the veils at Easter as a reminder that only the grace of Christ’s resurrection and the liberating love of God can remove the veils that sin has placed over our hearts, heal our blindness, and reveal to us God’s presence in our lives- still, as St. Paul wrote, like looking through a cracked mirror- but in faith and hope when we will behold the beauty of God face to face, unveiled in resplendent glory.

Please note: we do not veil the Stations of the Cross. If you have crucifixes and statues in your home, you might consider veiling them during the season of Lent. It will call to mind the call to repentance, and fill your hearts with the anticipation of Easter.


Rogationtide is a short season within the larger Easter celebration in which we celebrate God’s love for the created world, and ask for God’s blessing, in particular, on seeds, farms, and human labor which brings the fruits of the earth to our tables. It is an ancient celebration, which obviously was a more integrated part of the religious experience of people living in agrarian societies. In those cultures, the priest would “beat the bounds” of the parish by leading a procession around the physical boundaries of the parish, and blessing all of the lands.

This Sunday we will do this in a symbolic way as we process from the nave out to the lawn in front of the bell tower and offer prayers asking for God’s blessing on the created world. We will also ask for God to continue to bless the earth where the physical remains of those who have been buried in our memorial garden are at rest. This is a reminder of our connection to nature- to the dust to which we will all return- as well as a celebration of the renewed life given to us in baptism which will continue in resurrected life beyond the grave.

Living the Resurrection

During the forty days of Lent, we spent time in prayer and self-reflection, considering the ways we turn away from the way of love that Jesus has asked us to walk in and asking for God’s grace to turn back to God. We discerned which habits we need to eliminate from our life because they distract us from Love, and which practices we need to incorporate into our lives because they empower us to Love.

The fifty days of our Easter celebration offer us an opportunity to incorporate those changes into our daily lives- to practice walking in Love, and to imagine what the world will be like when God’s Reign of Love holds sway. It is an opportunity to cooperate with God’s grace, through prayer and good works, so that the fruit of our Lenten repentance can begin to bear fruit in our lives.

We are about halfway through our Easter journey. What places in your life or in the world remain imprisoned by death and sin? What practices can you incorporate into your daily living to expose those places to the liberating Love and new life that the Resurrected Christ offers?

May the grace of this holy season center us all in the lifegiving heart of God, and empower us to live the Resurrection, trusting that through our surrender to the Holy Spirit, God is transforming us more and more into the likeness of Jesus Christ. 

Why is there no Confession of Sin in the Liturgy during Eastertide?

The Feast of Easter is the Queen of feasts, the pinnacle of Christian life and worship. It is a season of life and light which calls to mind the fullness of life in God that awaits us in the life to come when we will be raised to life eternal in the presence of God. 

Throughout Lent we spent time in penance and fasting, intentionally working on turning away from sin and turning towards God. We contemplated what life is like when we separate ourselves from God and others by our selfish choices. During Easter, the church calls us to contemplate the reality of abundant life in and with God, through Jesus Christ. The triumph of Christ’s resurrection reminds us of Love’s final victory, when once and for all the powers of sin and darkness will be vanquished in God’s perfect reign.

The ancient Church omitted the Confession of Sin during the Mass during the Easter Season, not because people stopped sinning during this period, but because it was believed that this season was full of grace by virtue of our Lord’s Resurrection. In Lent we remember the consequences of “wrong living”; in Easter we remember and practice “right living”, more intentionally following Christ’s Way of Love.

Of course, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is always available for those who need it at any time, and the faithful are encouraged to confess their sins in their daily private prayers, even during the season of Easter. But Eastertide offers us a special grace, to imagine what our life could be like without sin, centered completely on God’s Love. Embrace the grace God so freely offers us to live an abundant life that radiates light and life to the world. Let us  Be Resurrection!


Lent is a time when the Church asks us to reflect on our values, practices, and behaviors to see how they are in line with Christ’s command to love God and neighbor as we love ourselves. It’s also a time of fasting- so that we can clear out those things which have become barriers to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and time of penitence- so that we can repent and return to God and God’s way of love.

Lent is meant to be a time of healing, but sometimes it can feel like drudgery. The work of Lent is hard work, to be sure; but, it is intended to be life-giving and transformational. And the conversion of life to which Lent calls us is not something that happens all at once- it doesn’t even happen after one perfectly practiced Lent. Conversion is the work of a lifetime. Conversion is the ongoing work of turning our hearts more and more to God so that God more and more enables us to live and love more like Jesus. 

So, if you’ve had a productive Lent and you feel closer to God and more energized to live the Good News of God’s saving in Christ, be grateful, and be an inspiration to others. But, if you feel like you have failed this Lent, or even if you haven’t made much of an effort to grow closer to God- do not despair. God accepts and honors the desire in our hearts to be united more fully to God’s love, even if our lived practice doesn’t always align with our desire. And it’s never too late to turn to God and to ask for God’s help. 

As we come to the end of this Lenten Season, may the grace of God draw all of us to see our dignity and worth as God’s beloved. May we offer our hearts and lives as sacrifices of love, and may we support and nurture one another on our paths towards conversion.