Tradition Not Yet Lost

By Charla Spalluto Misse

My husband was confirmed Catholic as an adult, just after our first child was born.  I am exceedingly grateful that we share the same faith and have many opportunities to grow and praise together.

He attended RCIA at St. Patrick’s on Camp Street where he thoroughly studied the catechism.

His enthusiasm and sincerity were inspiring.

His continued interest since that time is such a blessing to me.  Often, he asks questions about Catholic traditions that allow me to renew my conviction by remembering and articulating the heart of our faith.  His interest has led me to act more purposefully.

On more than one occasion, he has asked me why I don’t wear a veil to Mass like a few of the ladies we would see at St. Patrick’s Latin Mass.  I tell him that I wasn’t brought up with that tradition … So, he asks again a year or two later.  Indeed, I have yet to give him a good enough answer!  I actually don’t know the answer.

I’ve now learned that “veiling” is a personal devotion that indicates a woman’s submission to the Lord’s will, reverence for Christ’s true presence in the Eucharist and recognition that God created women as vessels of life.

There are also Bible passages that recommend women cover their heads when praying.

From what I’ve read, this beautiful Roman Catholic tradition almost disappeared in the 1960’s when a news conference statement that veiling was not required, but a matter of general discipline, was misinterpreted by many people to be that veiling was no longer condoned.

Despite subsequent clarifications from the Vatican, this ancient tradition had been critically interrupted.

We now attend a Mass where no women veil. I hesitated to start because I didn’t want to call attention to myself during Mass, fearing I might detract from the service.

When we went to the Latin Mass, however, I truly can’t say a veil ever distracted me. In fact, it may have helped me to better focus.

I wonder, if children (and adults) begin to notice women in veils, would it help remind them that they are now in a holy place along with the “Living Bread”?

Now that I am aware of this devotion, I do want to veil in the presence of Jesus to show God that I am his, willing to do his work.

Have you been called to veil or would like to see more women do this?


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